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Lean, faith-based drama 'Priceless' takes on sex trafficking

The trailer for "Priceless."

From the opening title card that proclaims, "Inspired by true stories" to the final call to action, the Christian drama "Priceless" isn't subtle about proclaiming either its faith or its noble mission against sex trafficking.

We meet James (Joel Smallbone, half of the Christian music duo For King & Country) as he drives a truck to make some quick cash, unaware of what his cargo is. After an accident, he discovers that he is actually delivering two young Mexican sisters (Bianca A. Santos and Amber Midthunder). When he realizes their fate as unwilling prostitutes, he embarks on a dangerous crusade to rescue them and redeem himself from a troubled past revealed in his bandaged knuckles and exposition-packed flashbacks.

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Smallbone is largely capable in the lead role, though he struggles in the film's more intense moments. Jim Parrack is miscast as the film's villain, whose Mexican accent and goatee are a distraction, while David Koechner gets to stretch in a noncomedic role.

Director Ben Smallbone (Joel's brother) has created a lean drama that relies more on emotion than well-crafted dialogue or character development, particularly of the women who largely serve as objects to move James toward his redemption. Though its obvious message may not translate well outside its intended audience, the converted will likely be entertained by the well-produced package the moving themes are delivered in.

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"Priceless"

MPAA rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving human trafficking, and some violence.

Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Playing: In limited release

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