The makers of Trafficked walk a fine line, embedding their advocacy in an action film and conveying the horror of sexual slavery without edging into exploitation. Director Will Wallace achieves this balance by emphasizing the inner lives of enslaved women even as the men who peddle them see them as meat.
The simplicity of Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit is its best and worst quality. Her direction has such clarity and power that the chaos and brutality of 50 years ago is vivid and immediate.
More mournful than frightening, the ghost story Lavender centers on the loss of family. Jane (Abbie Cornish) remembers nothing about her own parents or siblings, and her disquieting photographs present abandoned farmhouses as haunted relics of a family’s absence.
While this unpleasant thriller isn’t about our annus horribilis, director Richard Bates Jr. captures two familiar states: the feeling of being trapped in a cycle of misery, and the growing dread that something worse is just around the corner.
Even before the daughter-in-peril storyline turns Cash Only into a lean, mean indie Taken, director Malik Bader and screenwriter Nickola Shreli build a tense action film around a guilt-ridden man stuck in place.