'Traffik' is a film that surrounds the topic of sex trafficking. This is not to be confused with the Oscar-winning Steven Soderberg film 'Traffic' (2000). This film by Deon Taylor is altogether different. A few years ago, I saw a documentary on sex trafficking in Chicago and know others that that have done films on the topic. This is a very real problem in the United States and around the world. One very important thing that this film taught me is that making a few poor decisions or being in the wrong place at the wrong time could cause one to enter into the traffic ring. Sex Trafficking is about abduction, power, sex, and money. Human beings (mostly women and children) are drugged and taken against their will. People rarely ever talk about things or discuss them until we know somebody or it happens to us.
Deon Taylor tells a vivid story about a couple in love, Brea (Paula Patton) and John (Omar Epps). They meet up with friends for a nice secluded get-a-way weekend and everything takes a turn for the worst. The story begins when Brea's story gets scooped by a male journalist. Her editor, Mr. Waynewright (William Fichner) tells her that she is indecisive and unfocused and that is why she lost the story. She feels as though she is devalued as a writer and as a woman. Her hopes of finding a breakout story are dashed to pieces.
John wants to take Brea on a special surprise trip in the mountains to propose. He has everything planned out…a nice weekend in the pool. Darren (Laz Alonzo) ruins the surprise by discussing the planned weekend prematurely. Friends Darren and Malia (Roselyn Sanchez) come and join them at the secluded house in the mountains.
Originally, John and Brea run into a strange battered woman and some biker men looking to start trouble and harass out of town guests. One knows that there is trouble coming, but not how much. There are secrets revealed and an argument ensues. Later, the same woman at the convenient comes to the door to retrieve her phone ( that she had dropped in Brea's purse). Being a journalist, Brea's instincts kick in and immediately she takes measures to hide what is on the phone. She concludes that there is a problem, which is also witnessed also by the group. As a journalist, she is firm in her conviction that she will expose an international sex traffic ring that she has stumbled upon. The men that lost their phone have come to retrieve their it. They take no expense to do so. They will stop at nothing to get what they want. This does not turn out the way that you think…this is not a feel good story nor is it a fairy tale. I do believe something like this could possibly happen in a small hickville or rural town anywhere. I don’t think color makes a difference either.
I think that the storytelling was detailed and believable. This was a very sensual film beginning and it turned into something disturbing and volatile. 'Traffik' progressed in a way that shows me that writer, director Deon Taylor knows storytelling. Scenery and location added a vital part of this story too. I appreciated the architecture in the brown house that the film took place.
For women, black women especially, this is a story that is rarely discussed and uncovered through the media. There are girls and women disappearing at an alarming rate because of sex trafficking. We live in a time when danger is all around us and yet we think we are safe. Women must always be cognizant of their surroundings. Also, I feel as though this film could have been marketed better to people of color, women's groups, and crimes against humanities groups. Overall, I would give this film a 3 stars out of 4. I really appreciated the story transition from a romantic weekend to a strange twist of fate/volatile situation.
Actors included, but not limited to:
Missi Pyle-Deputy Sally Marnes
William Fichtner-Mr. Waynewright
Luke Goss -Red, the ring leader
Laz Alonso-Darren Cole