Review: Blowin’ Up

Title: Blowin’ Up
Rating: Not Rated
Director: Stephanie Wang-Breal
Starring: Toko Serita, Susan Liu, Eliza Hook
Runtime: 1 hr 34 mins

What is it: In 2004, the United States’ first problem-solving court around prostitution was created in Queens County, New York. The court presided over by the Honorable Toko Serita, attempts to redress the way women and young girls arrested for prostitution are shuffled through the criminal justice system.

What we think: Educational and eye-opening albeit a bit slow. Not a bad documentary given what this documentary is supposed to showcase; it shows what it intended to show. However, there are definitely things that could have been done to make this film better. In terms of production value, this film was very well made. Cinematography, lighting, and sound were all done well. The main issue with this film is the pacing, the content, and the disorganization. The pacing felt slow especially during the court scenes and made it a bit hard to stay awake when watching. In regards to the disorganization, it seemed as if it jumped from one subject to another which may make it confusing to watch and difficult to keep track of for some viewers. The biggest issue for me was mostly with the content. There are more than enough problems in the world right now and prostitution is a massive issue. In my opinion, I feel society needs more coverage on the issue itself rather than the process of what women go through when they manage to escape prostituting. It also appeared as if a lot of coverage was spent on the workers helping these women and not enough on the women escaping prostitution. All in all, it was not a bad documentary. I just feel it could have been better.

Our grade: B, Knowing a little bit about this world, I’m well aware that unfortunately these women are highly looked down upon in society because of how these women are being represented. Many of these individuals are in this line of work not because they want to be but because of many factors which may not be within their control. Despite the fact that a film like this is helpful in showing that good work is being done to give these women a second chance in life, I do feel that more attention and focus needs to be placed on other aspects. Such as why these women entered this line of work, how they did, and possibly the psychological aspects that contributed to this process. Maybe even shedding light on their upbringing can also raise more awareness to further help society understand how this problem became such an issue.

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Melissa Leach Written by: