7 Prisoners Review – Intense Drama Exposes Human Trafficking

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7 Prisoners, a Netflix original program, presents a twist on the story of human trafficking as four young men are duped into believing they are receiving employment, only to be held captive and forced into slave labor.

The film begins with 18-year-old Mateus, played by Christian Malheiros, who as the only son and only man in his family, hopes to provide a better life for his aging mother and sisters, who live in an impoverished life in the countryside of São Paolo, Brazil.


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A recruiter arrives in the countryside, selecting young men, for work. The rewards are promising, room, board, a weekly salary, and a chance to earn “city” money, which is much more than the few pennies they earn doing the odd jobs they can find around their homes.

Before the men leave their homes, their families are given about $2000.00 and told they would be sent more.

So Mateus, along with three others, agree to the job and are transported to the city. They arrive at a scrapyard and suddenly what began with promise, turns quickly into a nightmare. Upon arrival Mateus sets himself apart as the leader, he is educated, well mannered and is able to think and reason and doesn’t act irrationally.


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The scrape metal yard is run by Luca, played by Rodrigo Santoro, who immediately confiscates their identity cards and threatens them with death if they try to escape. They soon realize that unless they do what they are told they will be killed.

Luca, who we find out later was also a slave for the previous scrape yard boss. He takes a liking to Mateus and promotes him to essentially the foreman, which presents a dilemma; still a slave but receiving privileges, including freedom. The four men he arrived with recognized the possibility that Mateus will be freed. Which leaves them alone, stuck, with no hope and no way out.

Soon the gap between them solidifies. No longer comrades, united to find an out, but combatants looking to find a way to kill the betrayer. Does he stay a slave and turn his back on his friends or accept that his only way out is working the system from within?


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Mateus is given greater privileges and understands, someone, somewhere is providing protection. He becomes Luca’s right-hand man. Soon, he is trading slaves, collecting the money, and with each task is rewarded. He is given, cash, receives his cell phone back, is given better sleeping conditions, taken out with the boss and eventually meets the leader of the syndicate.

Finally, the day comes when Mateus is forced to choose and even as we can see the choice has long been made. Even pseudo-freedom is better than no freedom.

7 Prisoners is deeply engrossing and presents the dark side of the economic desperation that plagues nations around the world. A tense thriller, 7 Prisoners deepens into a masterful study of power, solidarity, and betrayal.

7 Prisoners is available November 11, 2021, exclusively on Netflix. See it.


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Country: USA.

Runtime: 93 minutes.

Release Date: November 11, 2021.

Director: Alexandre Moratto.

Screenplay: Thayná Mantesso and Alexandre Moratto.

Produced by Ramin Bahrani, Fernando Meirelles, Alexandre Moratto, Andrea Barata Ribeiro, and Bel Berlinck.

Cast: Rodrigo Santoro, Christian Malheiro, Vitor Julian, Clayton Mariano, Josias Durate, Bruno Rocha, Cecilia Homem de Mello, Lucas Oranmian, Gabriela Yoon, Dirce Thomaz.

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