An excellent cast and original script, about a brother and sister getting involved in dangerous child trafficking rings, makes Paradise Highway great.
Paradise Highway is a hell of a debut feature film for a writer/director. Anna Gutto distilled years of research into an incredibly unique script and then created a very entertaining movie, featuring acting powerhouses like Morgan Freeman, Juliette Binoche, Frank Grillo, and Cameron Monaghan, which tackles a very important subject. If a filmmaker’s first major work is their calling card, then Gutto’s phone will likely be ringing off the hook.
One of those rare films that’s exciting, fun, and filled with suspense without being part of a franchise or relying on some gimmick, Paradise Highway is a gem that proves how refreshing it is to see original ideas onscreen. The movie follows the tough, terse female trucker Sally (Binoche) on the week that her beloved brother Dennis (Grillo) is set to be released from prison. Throughout his prison sentence, the siblings have coordinated different smuggling operations, using Sally’s cross-country trucking job as a way to transport various goods. When Sally goes to pick up the goods for one last job before Dennis gets out, she realizes that she’s tasked with smuggling a child for sex trafficking.Ethical dilemmas abound here, obviously, as Sally sadly transports the young Leila, a barely teenage girl who may cower but, when given the opportunity, will kill to survive. Leila’s essentially property of a child sex trafficking ring, the same shady group that has helped Dennis through prison. But when this job falls apart, Dennis’ release from prison and Sally’s life come into the crosshairs of some vile people. It’s all very tense, sometimes extremely sad, and executed precisely like clockwork (at least until a somewhat rushed ending, though that’s a small complaint).
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