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Movie Review: “Amexica”

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Produced in conjunction with the Project to End Human Trafficking, “Amexica” is a 23-minute short written and directed by Ronald Krauss. Joseph Ferrante and AnnaLynne McCord star a con artist couple in Los Angeles who procure a child
(Jordan James) from a human trafficking ring. They aren’t looking to be parents though; instead, the child is just a pawn in their con, which involves throwing him in front of cars and then using that sympathy to drain as much money out of the guilty drivers as possible by playing the child’s parents.

I appreciate the message of the movie, and especially how the material was approached; on the whole, movies that involve human trafficking generally focus on the sex trade, but here it’s focused on a child who is sold to a couple for other (still nefarious) reasons. It was a refreshing and different take for once, and I respect that. Ferrante and McCord are perfectly cast in their role as a con artist couple; Ferrante looks and feels slimy (that is a compliment, trust me), and McCord, no stranger to playing the villain, gets a chance to act in a more adult role and knocks it out of the park. “Amexica” is also appealing on a visual level, shot and edited beautifully.

However as as whole, “Amexica” never feels like anything more than a well-crafted extended PSA. There is no time to really get to know the characters and to get in depth, so at the end it left me wanting more. Also, “Amexica”‘s main story is sandwiched between Ferrante’s character at a child trafficking headquarters, which are supposed to represent his redemption after the events that transpire. These scenes feel completely out of place, and the lady who plays the owner of the headquarters (I assume at least) was flat out obnoxious (again probably the point, but this was over the top).

“Amexica” has many good elements and if it was a full-length movie, I think it would have played out a lot better. But that wasn’t their intent; Krauss and company want you to think about the terrors of human trafficking and this does so. Unfortunately, it does so in a preachy “you’re watching an after school special” kind of way.

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About Jonathan Sullivan

  • http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/ Prof Patt

    Thank you, Jonathan Sullivan, for your well-crafted review. If it were a full-length movie, it could move the clock forward by a few years and focus on the tragedy of what happens to the boy later, after he gets too big to be used in this scheme … his inability to make up for the missed schooling, the lack of a worthy peer group and the skewed ethical values.