Swab uses the character of Utah and narrator Vin (Frank Grillo) to uncover the incredibly lucrative business of getting bodies into beds at these treatment facilities with a revolving door. The treatment facilities get the government kickbacks, which are filtered down to the brokers who find the vulnerable and pay them to attend for 30 days. With a 10% success rate, business is booming for Vin and Wood. This premise finds Utah as he successfully goes through treatment and finally decides to become a broker himself.
Visually isolating the outdoor scenes are empty and the characters take center stage. Interestingly, Utah’s involvement in the brokering is shown in a cold and sterile way, while the drug den’s and external drug rehab groups are represented in warm lighting and a cluttered atmosphere. Enhancing the sense of Utah wanting to have his foot in both camps but unable to truly make a decision between the moral or immoral path not having much guidance.
BODY BROKERS is an uncomfortable and eye-opening film that keeps you engaged until the end. This is mostly to do with the interesting choice in storytelling, which made it hard to pinpoint the direction. It made the slow burn feel like a climactic build that eventually led nowhere. Saying this, the expose itself on the business of drug treatment facilities was performed and portrayed in such a way it felt uncomfortable and sleazy to even be told this information.
A lot like Vin, who was exceptionally acted by Grillo, the two paths for Utah are plain to see. His life with drugs or the life that can get him out – which unfortunately means he has to play the game and play the system. The balance between his newfound love interest, the human stories, and Wood’s life kept you invested in Utah. Hoping his decisions will get him to a good place, or at least make a stand against the heartless acts of this system.
BODY BROKERS produced a lot of insight that makes this an important film. Unfortunately, the lack of direction in the filmmaking style made it difficult to know if this was a drama or redemption story, or both. It may have worked in Swab’s favor in the end because it keeps you on your toes throughout. The film attracted a great cast of actors who were well placed in their roles. This film leaves the audience with a lot to think about, which is exactly what this kind of film needs to do. While the moral of the story is vague (and probably very realistic), it is successful in creating a unique mood and style of storytelling which keeps you guessing. As Vin says, “How do you end a never-ending story?”
BODY BROKERS is available on DVD from Eagle Entertainment.