A world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival hopes to use Hollywood production values to combat child ‘sexploitation’. The movie is one of three to be produced by Redlight Children, a campaign against the trade in kids for sex. ‘Holly’ is the tale of a dissolute American man who finds a purpose in rescuing a 12 year-old girl from the brothels of Cambodia.
While the intention of Holly wins a huge applause, the flick itself might struggle to find an audience. Writer, Guy Jacobson, and director, Guy Moshe, seem to have taken Sam Goldwyn’s legendary advice to heart. Knowing that “if you want to send a message, call Western Union” is a warning against preachy movies, they’ve gone for a thriller plot. The opening reel is all sweat, booze and cynicism in Phnom Penh and the tension rises like mercury. However, the filmmakers don’t hold their nerve on what could have been a snappy B-movie with a novel premise. Instead, the film drags for about half an hour too long, as if the audience might need extra time to work out quite how horrible the world is.
PRs are busy trying to create a buzz about Holly, but the spin money might be better spent on another cut. A leaner edit may bring in an audience broader than ‘bleeding heart liberals’, which is surely the point.
Jacobson started the Redlight Children after a holiday trip to Cambodia, where a group of children propositioned him for sex. The campaign has already produced two documentaries on the issue, The Virgin Harvest and The K11 Journey.
Holly screens at Cineworld today at 1915