Eden (2012) Directed by Megan Griffiths. With Jamie Chung, Beau Bridges, Matt O’Leary, Tracey Fairaway, Tantoo Cardinal and Scott Mechlowicz.
Directed and co-written by Megan Griffiths, with a claim to be based on a true story by Chong Kim, Eden tells the disturbing tale of abducted women and young girls caught in a human trafficking ring in the US state of Washington.
The drama is told from the perspective of a sweet Korean-American girl called Hyune Jae, who we meet in an upsetting opening scene, bound and gagged and in huge distress in the car boot of a man only identifiable by a tattoo on his wrist. There’s no doubt, it’s an attention grabbing introduction, but also one that signals the beginning of a very unhappy story of a woman’s attempt to survive and adapt in horrific circumstances.
What, in the wrong hands, could have easily slipped into salacious territory, is instead responsibly handled by Megan Griffiths. It’s not that we don’t bare witness to some horrific abuse, it’s more that Griffiths is sensitive enough to understand how much of it we need to see, and wisely spares us the graphic details.
In the central role, Jamie Chung acquits herself very well, and as Eden’s story deepens, the character becomes a more complex, emotionally resilient person. There is, however, a feeling that some of her character development is skimmed over. Indeed, we skip forward a whole year at one point, to meet a completely different person, which leaves a gap in audience understanding of who she has become.
Of course, with most films ‘based on true events’, it’s impossible to seperate what is fact and what is fiction. That this sort of thing happens in the real world on any scale, is a horror in itself, but thanks to careful direction, Eden stays within the lines of taste, but is not a film you will want to watch more than once. 3/5