Run: The Insidious Heart of Human Trafficking

Strong Foundation Films wants to make films that speak to issues in society today, and their eighth film, Run, tackles human trafficking. When Levi (Josiah Warren) and Natalie (Taylor Murphy) get married, they expect that their life will be 'happily ever after.' But Natalie's journalistic investigation and exposure of human trafficking makes her a target for a human trafficker who wants to quiet her voice and punish her for her justice-seeking message. Kidnapping Natalie on her wedding night, the human traffickers set in motion a series of events that will lead to their destruction because Levi's love for Natalie is deep and his faith is strong.

Warren proves to be a capable leading man and director of the film, showing the anguish Levi feels and the powerful determination never to give up. In a Christian film niche that is filling quickly (see: Priceless, Caged No More, The Fourth World), it's necessary that we care about his character and Natalie's as well. In fact, Run may do the best job of any of these films of showing the nefarious way that human traffickers use a variety of methods (Natalie's outright kidnapping is the least likely of them) to gain 'product' for their trade. That's even scarier because it's so subtle and nonchalant.

Natalie isn't the only woman kidnapped, as several other side stories allow us to see how different men and women become ensnared in the sex trade. Some are abused, some are abandoned, some are simply lured into a relationship with a stranger that ends poorly. Those in the trafficking unit have broken lives and a strong disdain for faith; in Levi's life, there are several strong characters whose faith encourage him forward in his quest for Natalie.

While the film's violence is toned down compared to a more widely-released one, the tension and dread are absolutely on par with our expectations for other thrillers. In fact, I found myself wondering which of the 'good' characters would survive the ordeal, a fact that is often softened in Christian film. Here, the impact of sin, violence, death, greed, and disregard for human life are front and center. But thankfully, there are several reminders that God is in control, and that Christians should (and can) stand firm against the evils of trafficking.

Run is the first Strong Foundation Film I've seen, but the film's story and production values guaranteed that it won't be the last.