The road to cinematic mediocrity is often paved with good intentions, and certainly few fiction films can boast as impeccable human-rights credentials as “Trade of Innocents,” a child-sex-trade drama whose star, Mira Sorvino, serves as a United Nations goodwill ambassador to combat human trafficking. Unfortunately, with its unconvincing action, preachy script and flat performances, the pic winds up less moving than most typical journeyman documentaries on the subject. Nevertheless, name players will make it a natural for educational and advocacy venues after its Oct. 5 limited theatrical kickoff at Gotham’s Quad Cinema.Still coping with the violent death of their daughter years earlier, Alex (Dermot Mulroney) and his wife, Claire (Sorvino), head to Cambodia. He’s an investigator with a mandate to stop the child sex trade; she works with little girls rescued from brothels. Expository procedural scenes, where Cambodian police and Western officials argue over poverty-vs.-morality issues, are broken up by occasional chases before building to a climactic fight scene. Little kids wander through the plot, looking hopeful or pitiful as occasion demands.
A Monterey Media release of a Dean River production. Produced by William Bolthouse, Laurie Bolthouse, Jim Schmidt. Executive producer, Dave Ross. Co-executive producer, John Schmidt. Directed, written by Christopher Bessette.
Camera (color, widescreen), Philip Hurn; editor, Diane Robb; music, Timothy Hosman; production designer, Mona Nahm. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Sept. 28, 2012. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 91 MIN.
Mira Sorvino, Dermot Multoney, John Billingsley, Trieu Tran. (English, French dialogue)