FF2009: Sweet Karma

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FF2009: Sweet Karma
A mute Russian girl, Karma, infiltrates Toronto's underground sex trade to avenge the death of her sister, Anna, who went missing shortly after arriving to start a new life. Once Karma leaves the airport she begins to hunt down those responsible for bringing Anna and all the other girls over to Canada to exact bloody revenge.

Sweet Karma follows the Russian sex trade in my own back yard of Toronto, Canada. Toronto is the setting really only by name because Hunt gives no obvious visual cues that it is Toronto thus making it the 'any town'. Hunt and fellow writer James Fler based their film on true to life stories where Russian women are flown into Canada promised housekeeping jobs only to find themselves hostage to sex traders making these girls work of their debts in strip clubs and elsewhere.

Sweet Karma is the little Canuck female revenge thriller that could. Made with a minimal budget it walks a fine line between exploitation and drama but delivers a sexy thriller that arouses and titillates then abhors and disgusts the next. Andrew Hunt does a fairly good job directing his film though I would have liked to have seen less hand held photography and the quality of the film source didn't allow the full texture of the sex trade world to come out. Sometimes it did get a bit dark and cloudy on the screen. Making use of an experienced Russian ex-military adviser the kills are sometimes brutal, sometimes swift, but there will be blood when Karma sets her sights.

Karma played by Shera Bechard is absolutely not difficult to look at; before her debut role as Karma she was understandably a model. Dang. Aside from that though, which is obvious, she gets kudos for playing a role that demanded so much from her for her debut acting role. Shera's experiences as a photography model have already instilled in her the talent to convey emotion and response through facial reactions. And in this role of Karma she got to be sexy and deadly, but she also had to be victimized and vulnerable. You cannot find a lot of actresses who would be willing to go through so much and expose so much of themselves in a single debut role.

The story is a little rough around the edges. There are a couple times when I had to check reality at the door and just allow the story to unfold. Silly things like police response times at certain points in the film to allow tension to build. There is an initial twist that is revealed isn't completely unnecessary but the story would have been fine without it and nothing would have been lost. I will say that the surprise at the end I did not see coming.

Sweet Karma plays again on Wednesday, September 30th.

Sweet Karma

  • Andrew Thomas Hunt
  • James Fler
  • Andrew Thomas Hunt
  • James Fler (story)
  • Andrew Thomas Hunt (story)
  • Michael Paszt (story)
  • Shera Bechard
  • John Tokatlidis
  • Frank J. Zupancic
  • Christian Bako
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Andrew Thomas HuntJames FlerMichael PasztShera BechardJohn TokatlidisFrank J. ZupancicChristian BakoCrimeDramaThriller

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