The Jammed: Film Review and Bibliography
Information accessed from imdb.com and The Jammed Official Website
CAST and CREW
Director: Dee McLachlan
Writer: Dee McLachlan
Producers: Sally Ayre-Smith
Cinematographer: Peter Falk
The Picture Tank
Andrew S. Gilbert—Mr. Glassman
Alison Whyte—Mrs. Glassman
UK: 20 March 2007 at London Australian Film Festival
Australia: 22 June 2007 at Sydney International Film Festival
Public Release: 16 August 2007
USA and New Zealand: soon to be released
Classification and Duration
Duration: 89 mins
Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards (2008)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Saskia Burmeister
Best Director: Dee McLachlan
Best Screenplay: Dee McLachlan
IF Awards (2008)
Best Feature Film: Dee McLachlan, Sally Ayre-Smith, & Andrea
Best Music: Grant Innes McLachlan
Best Script: Dee McLachlan
Best Actress: Veronica Sywak
Best Cinematography: Peter Falk
Best Editing: Anne Carter and Dee McLachlan
1. Variety.com [Richard Kuipers]
2. Urban Cinefile (Australia)
3. In Film Australia
5. Superciliousness (Australia)
6. Movie Vault [Avril Carruthers]
7. World Socialist Web Site
11. Also, the Jammed official website has links to more reviews.
Critical Review of The Jammed and its Literature
The film The Jammed (2007) is a dramatic film about human sex trafficking in Australia. It takes place in Melbourne and involves an Australian women, Ashley, who gets reluctantly caught up in helping a Chinese women, Sunee, find her daughter who she believes is a prostitute. Crystal is another girl from China who came to Australia under the impression that she was going to work as a stripper to earn money for her family. However, when she arrives she learns that she is in debt to Mr. Glassman, the “pimp”, and therefore must work as a prostitute to pay off $50,000. She meets Vanya and Ruby who are in the same situation and they are together for the majority of the film.
Ashley helps Sunee search for her daughter and when she gets a call from Vanya, she figures out where they are. She puts herself at risk and gets Ruby and Crystal out. Ruby is Sunee’s daughter and it turns out that her family sold her to pay off debt. Ruby is very depressed throughout the whole film, overdosing at one point and finally killing herself by jumping out of a window. Crystal ends up entering detention and will most likely be deported back to China. Vanya escapes with the help of Ashley and she disappears into the Australian night.
This film does a wonderful job of exposing these kinds of activities. Many people are not aware of the dark side of their city or country and this is one example. The actresses in this film do a terrific job of portraying women who get caught up in trafficking usually against their will or without full knowledge. Veronica Sywak is great as the reluctant heroine. She does not want to get involved but her moral sense of right and wrong prevents her from turning away. The fact that she has a lot of issues with relationships heightens the significance of her becoming involved. Emma Lung plays Crystal rather well. The scenes of her rapes are very chilling and evoke the right emotion in the viewer. It ensures that you see her as a victim and not just another prostitute. I think that the strongest character was Vanya, played by Saskia Burmeister. She was a very strong character who put herself at risk for the other girls multiple times. She had a self-assurance that the others lacked and was willing to fight to get out.
This film is very dark and sad. Most of the scenes are at night emphasizing the fact that this is a secret world hidden beneath the one everyone sees during the day. I personally think that this was a great film that everyone should see to open their eyes about the world they live in and the fact that they can help.
This film was only released on a very limited scale. It received award nominations and won some as well and now may also be entered in the 2008 AFI awards due to changes in criteria. This film is also soon to be released in New Zealand and the USA according to the official site. Since this is an independent film, it has not been widely seen by the public. However, critics say that this is on of the best Australian films of the year and many of the personal reviews, such as on IMDB.com were very favorable. One critic, Luke Buckmaster of INMILM said, “The Jammed is a fast, thudding, ultra-timely expose, a bucket of icy cold water thrown on the groggy, ambivalent face of public conscience”.
Circumstances of Production
Dee McLachlan wrote this film after reading about human trafficking in a Melbourne newspaper. She decided to do this film on a low budget and shot on HD video in order to get it out to the public faster. She was heavily impacted by the significance of this story and how prevelant it was and how ignored it was by the general public. She received very limited funding from the Australian film industry. In fact, only Film Victoria put a little money into the film. McLachlan also had to self-distribute the film, further limiting the number of people able to see it (At the Movies: The Jammed)
Film’s Relation to Other Work by Director
Dee McLachlan is the director, writer and one of the producers of The Jammed and it is her 6th feature film. She has also done The Second Jungle Book and Born Wild. She has produced and directed many television programs and documentaries. She has her
own production company, Moving Pictures, and is also very accomplished as a cinematographer (The Jammed official site).
The Jammed and Australian Cinema
The Jammed is wonderfully done and covers a very important topic, one that is very relevant to Australian society today. It has a very important message and the fact that it received very little funding from the Australian film industry shows that maybe it is not ready to stand behind films with controversial and risky themes. It was released at so small a scale that only critics really were able to see it and know how well it was done. The majority of the general public will not even have heard of it, let alone actually see it.
I think that it is rather ironic that although very little money from the industry was put into the movie, critics love it and it has received award attention. Perhaps the Australian industry can appreciate the way this movie exposes such a social problem but is still a little unwilling to help fund it.
The Jammed is a dramatic thriller based on a social problem. This film was written based of off official court transcripts to ensure that this film was not overly sensationalized but actually portrayed the truth of human trafficking in Australia. This film easily fits into the genre of a social problem film since it does “combine social analysis and dramatic conflict within a coherent narrative structure….movie narrative adapted to accommodate social issues as story material…” (Gillard 2007). It is also a melodrama because the point of this film is to elicit strong feelings on the part of the viewer, to make them want to do something to change what is happening in their own country under their noses.
I suppose the film could also be classified as a women’s film since issues of rape and prostitution are central to the plot but I think that it goes beyond this particular genre and to classify it simply as a women’s film would do it a disservice.
At the Movies: The Jammed
Gillard, Garry. 2008. Ten Types of Australian Film. Chapter 8. Murdoch University.
The Jammed: Official Website