Demonic Doings Infinitely Worse Than What Liam Neeson Confronted - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Demonic Doings Infinitely Worse Than What Liam Neeson Confronted
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Liam Neeson in the movie trailer for “Taken” (2008, YouTube)

After watching Patryk Vega’s 2021 documentary Eyes of the Devil the other day, I felt guilty for having gotten such a thrill out of Taken.

Taken, of course, is the hit 2008 action movie in which Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a former CIA agent who’s got more on the ball than everybody in the actual CIA put together. Hours after his flibbertigibbet of a teenage daughter arrives in Paris for a vacation with her equally airheaded bestie, both girls are kidnapped by Albanian gangsters whose specialty is snatching young lassies, drugging them up, and selling them to the highest bidder. Upon hearing that his princess has been nabbed, Mills flies from Los Angeles to Paris, tracks down the crooks, kills them all, and takes his daughter home. It’s quite a ride — a top-notch piece of pure entertainment. 

Or at least I thought it was, until I saw Eyes of the Devil. Because, if Eyes of the Devil is to be believed, it turns out that everything shown in Taken is based on reality — except that the reality is even worse. Lots, lots worse. In the real world, the kids who are abducted all over Europe tend to be way younger than the daughter in Taken is. Some critics accused Taken of smearing Muslims; in fact, according to Eyes of the Devil, the overwhelming majority of the people who carry off children in Europe — or buy them from their mothers — are Muslims. 

Eyes of the Devil, which I watched on YouTube, consists largely of blurred-image conversations with people who are involved in this sordid commerce. The tale they tell is as follows: Some stolen children — who are referred to by their traffickers as “merchandise” (boys) or “dollies” (girls) — are sold to “VIP” clients and subjected to sexual abuse beginning at age 3 or 4; others are put to work in one of at least four child brothels in northern Europe (where they’re regularly drugged with cocaine or amphetamine) and later harvested for organs (unless they’ve been so heavily drugged for so long that their parts are no longer useful for transplant). Some end up being used in porn films that are posted on the dark web. Then there are the kids who, being too unattractive for sex, go “for spare parts.”

I was so shocked by some of the assertions made in Eyes of the Devil that I wondered whether this stuff could all be true. I wasn’t alone. Online I found other people who doubted the film’s veracity. Why, they asked, doesn’t it contain interviews with, say, social workers or police who could confirm its claims? Then again, look at the history of the Muslim “grooming gangs” that have been responsible for the systematic molestation of thousands upon thousands of young girls all over England. If a director had set out to make a documentary about those gangs a few years ago, he wouldn’t have been able to get a single social worker or cop to tell him the truth on camera, because they were all terrified of being labeled Islamophobes. And as horrible as the picture painted in Eyes of the Devil is, it’s hardly worse than what those upstanding public servants were covering up. 

In any event, Polish authorities didn’t dismiss Eyes of the Devil as fantasy. On the contrary, the State Commission on Pedophilia took the film’s allegations seriously. The government’s Ombudsman for Children’s Rights asked the prosecutor’s office to open a case. And the police initiated an investigation into the film’s contents. Agata Witkowska of the Czas Wolności Foundation, which works with the victims of human trafficking, praised Vega for having “the courage to call things what they are.” 

Also, for what it’s worth, Vega is no obscure figure. In his home country, he’s famous. His 2018 thriller The Plagues of Breslau was shown on Netflix. Last year, in addition to Eyes of the Devil, he put out another movie, a thriller called Small World that can now, I am told, be viewed in the U.S. on Amazon Prime Video and iTunes. (Since I live in Norway, I was obliged to watch a Spanish-dubbed video online.) Like Eyes of the Devil, it’s about child sexual abuse. 

The story is not unlike that of Taken: Its hero, Robert (Piotr Adamczyk), is a Polish cop who gets involved in a kidnapping case involving a 4-year-old girl named Ola. The difference is that while Bryan Mills takes a couple of days to bring his daughter home, Robert takes 12 years to return Ola to her mother. In the meantime, the girl undergoes an odyssey that may not strictly align with the specific scenarios outlined in Eyes of the Devil but that no doubt, in its broad strokes, reflects the experiences of many victims. 

Small World isn’t as polished as Taken, but it’s still gripping. When Ola’s mother discovers that her daughter has just been spirited away by some creep with a truck, she heads off in fast pursuit; Robert, who’s on patrol, stops her for speeding and joins in the chase when she tells him what’s happened. Alas, the truck makes it safely over the border into Russia. 

Cut to four years later. After an explosion damages a Moscow apartment, workers examining the damage find child porn behind a bathroom wall. The householder, Oleg (Andris Keiss), who has custody of five pre-teen girls — one of them Ola — is arrested, and a woman cop eager to return the kids to their parents is put in touch with Robert through Interpol; her crooked superior, however, frees Oleg, who immediately gets the creep with the truck (who turns out to be his brother) to transport the children to Ukraine. 

Another five years go by. The suicide of an 11-year-old prostitute brings Robert to Rotherham, England, where, after finding pictures of Ola, now a teenager, on the computer of a child-porn photographer, he follows a lead to a masked Satanic orgy that makes the creepy sex-party sequence in Eyes Wide Shut look like afternoon tea with Mamie Eisenhower. You expect Robert to find Ola at that Satanic fête — but no. Cut to four years later, and he’s in Bangkok.

But no more spoilers. You get the idea. Bottom line: In real life, there’s no Bryan Mills to find girls like Ola and get them home before the weekend’s over. With few exceptions, Ola’s actual counterparts spend years enduring slow torture and perish, alone and tragically, at a very young age. And how does Small World end? Let’s just say that it concludes with an incredibly violent sequence that would do Quentin Tarantino proud. (READ MORE from Bruce Bawer: Tarantino’s Surprisingly Traditional Take on Film)

Like Eyes of the Devil, Small World is extremely difficult to watch. But it’s worth it. To be sure, a couple of times I worried that what Vega was putting some of his young actors through was itself a form of abuse. It’s a conundrum: How do you depict the depths of depravity involved in the child sex trade without being guilty of exploitation yourself? Maybe this is why Small World hasn’t received more attention than it has. As for Eyes of the Devil, its emphasis on the Islamic acceptance of pederasty is doubtless more than enough to have sent film distributors running for the hills.

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