Movie Review: Hope Lost (2015)

Synopsis: A small-town Romanian woman travels to Italy with a man who claims to be a TV producer finding cast members for a new reality series and, instead, is sold into prostitution under the control of a heartless pimp, Manol, who seems to have spies around every corner, preventing her escape.

Who's in it? The movie stars Francesca Agostini, Mischa Barton, Daniel Baldwin, Danny Trejo and Michael Madsen.

Review: I was looking for something to watch with my wife Monday night and, since there won't be any new Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episodes for a while, I picked out this film, which reminded me a lot of that show. Overall, we enjoyed it.

I think the thing that really stood out for me when it came to this movie was the way Sofia (Agostini) wound up in the situation she did. Not only did the fake TV producer, Gabriel (Andrey Chernyshov) not force her into the car, he practically gave her every opportunity to change her mind. Heck, he even drove her home and she ultimately just decided to travel with him pretty much on her own. In fact, I'm still a little unsure whether he was a reluctant participant in all of this or if he purposely did all of that to gain her trust.

The movie also did a pretty decent job of showing how a woman can be prostituted against her will. Between Manol's (Madsen) various accomplices/spies and his not-so-subtle threats against her family, it was easy to see why she didn't just try to escape, even when she seemed to find an ally who was more than capable of helping her. Her only real hope was finding someone who was willing to "buy" her from Manol. And, that seemed very unlikely.

The film doesn't hesitate to throw in some pretty intense scenes. This includes Sofia being anally raped on a kitchen table as punishment and an abortion scene (or at least as close to one as you can get). So, if you are sensitive to stuff like that, it's probably not a film for you.

My only real complaint is I wasn't a big fan of the ending, which I thought fell a little too much into the action movie category and, ultimately, just didn't seem to really fit the overall tone of the film. In fact, if it were up to me, I probably would have just completely cut out the part about her and the other prostitute (Barton) being forced to make a snuff film and found a different way to end the movie.

Final Opinion: It's definitely not a film everyone will enjoy and I, personally, didn't really like the ending. But, overall, I thought it was a gritty drama that will definitely have me talking to my daughters about not accepting rides from strangers, especially in Europe.

My Grade: B


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