The Jammed Reviews
Like many other films that would follow in recent years, The Jammed is another example of a low-budget Australian film where viewers are expected to overlook everything solely for the sake of the subject matter. The same way Ruben Guthrie (2015) dealt with alcoholism and 52 Tuesdays (2014) dealt with gender transition, The Jammed draws its audiences in by utilizing recent stories of the underground sex trade going on in Melbourne. In that sense it has the best intentions because it means to bring the attention of viewers to a legitimate issue, but it comes with lesser production values than Ruben Guthrie and the sense of artificiality that 52 Tuesdays was definitive for. Patriotic viewers seem consistent in overlooking these themes for the sake of encouraging Australian cinema, but I simply cannot. I did not enjoy The Jammed for a series of reasons. I had no problem with the desire to deal with real issues, but I could not overlook the fact that it all felt so fake.
Clearly a low budget film, the visual style of The Jammed is very simplistic. The visual quality of the camera is slightly rough when it attempts to capture moving frames and the cinematography takes on are pretty basic. The lighting is also rather poor, unintentionally creating a rather grim colour scheme at times and therefore failing to create any sense of artistic work within the narrative. The editing uses a lot of very basic transitions between shots which are most notable during the quick fades between changing frames, reminding viewers that the film is an amateur production on par with the kind of short films made by filmmakers during their early days of exploring Windows Movie Maker. The entire film feels like it was actively done within that editing medium, clearly conveying a need for creativity which the film simply cannot live up to. The story is edited so that there are constant jumps in time keep the narrative fast-moving, failing to give viewers any time to settle into any potential atmosphere. Perhaps this is good in the sense that it distracts viewers from the fact that it is unable to actively build one, but any film that actually wants to be good should respect viewers enough to let them figure things out for themselves without using pacing as a distraction. The Jammed is not one of those films.
It is explained that The Jammed was made intentionally on a low budget strictly because the film needed to be made as a means of bringing public attention to the underground sex trade, but there are more effective ways of doing that than creating a narrative that is jammed with artificiality. But nobody figured that out at any point in production and so instead of being catered towards audience entertainment, the film simply serves as an afterschool special which is schlocky and even plain confusing at times. A well-constructed narrative is yet another thing left out of The Jammed, reinforcing this notion that it thinks it can stand on the legs of subject matter and nothing else. The simple fact is that it cannot because it takes many things to constitute a good film. Aside from the genuine ambition to transcend budgetary limitations and make an actual feature length film which has a serious message, I can't say that I found any of them within The Jammed in its narrative context or in terms of technical qualities.
Even when you can't afford a great camera there are still ways of getting around that with innovative cinematography techniques. The Jammed instead makes an effort to film every seen from a conventional medium-distance shot that seems consistent with being in the centre of the room and nowhere else. This comes into fruition fairly fast as the intro scene in the film depicts a cheaply shot view of Swanston Street and Flinders Street Railway Station as citizens walk past with some of them acknowledging the presence of the camera in a manner less subtle than they seem to have thought. Yet the shot keeps rolling and more people keep doing it, so it takes little time before entire visual experience of The Jammed has been foreshadowed. A high quality camera may require funding, but creativity within cinematography does not. Yet The Jammed has such a low budget that it cannot even afford anyone with an eye for strong imagery.
Another thing which cannot be excused on the basis of budget is the quality of the acting in the film. The script itself already condemns them to poor characters from the beginning, but genuine acting charisma is not something that you need to buy when there are countless actors willing to work for nothing internationally. Instead of going for good actors willing to work for nothing, The Jammed targets actors who instead decide to deliver nothing. Each character is some kind of archetype in one way or another, and the way the story unfold essentially makes viewers play a game of "Where's Wally?" to try and isolate each and every archetype. There are many within the main narrative and the half-assed attempts at subplots, but unfortunately playing a game of "Where's Wally?" seemed to be the only way I could find any sense of entertainment in viewing The Jammed. Even then it was a meandering cry for help to escape desperate boredom at the hands of cheap filmmaking and lacklustre characterization.
So The Jammed has an important message beneath the surface, but the experience of the film is so lacking thanks to its painfully cheap production values, thin script and confusing situations that it left me willing to recommend a story covered by A Current Affair or Today Tonight over this as an alternative which is an absolute first for me.
good writing/acting but just wasnt hooked in to it enough to feel it was worth the full 90 mins of my time.
would give the director another shot tho if they had something else looking good.
The acting was very well done, and I feel for those women and their families.
After seen this movie (and the movie 'Taken') there is no doubt that these things are happening the world over.
definitely worth watching
Camerawork and editing was well executed though. I bought it for $10 from Video Ezy about a year ago and I don't regret it but it wasn't all I was hoping for considering the high praise it received when it first premiered. I do recommend people download it (last I heard the official site was offering it as a free download) for a viewing to support local talent though. It is an enjoyable watch, if not a bit too confronting at times.
I pretty much hated the side of the story with Sywak's character, i didnt believe it for a minute, and she does some very questionable things. McLachlan shows her skills with the concurrent story concerned with the Brothel.