Each year hundreds of women are taken from their homes and forced into a life of prostitution and sexual slavery. This is the story of ten of them. A Belgian criminal gang head east to ...
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Each year hundreds of women are taken from their homes and forced into a life of prostitution and sexual slavery. This is the story of ten of them. A Belgian criminal gang head east to Lithuania to recruit young women desperate to leave their impoverished lives. Promising a glamorous life as members of a stage dance troupe, the girls are eager to sign up. From the training in Cyprus, to the strip clubs and illegal brothers in Belgium, the girls from the start are forced into a life of rape, abuse, murder and misery. The police are slow and corrupt, and the gangsters are always one step ahead of the law.Written by
Following the huge success of the first series, mostly in its native country Belgium but on the international export market as well, a second series of "Matroesjkas" was inevitable. Most of the story lines were even readily written when the first series still aired on TV, for that matter. But still, the last thing anyone can claim is that this second series is simply a continuation and cash-in on the popularity of the original. The second and undoubtedly final series has a much more internationally orientated character, more convoluted plot outlines, the atmosphere is even more disturbing and there's a lot more violence (especially when approaching the finale). Several characters of the first series return, but there are also numerous new ones that get introduced; often even viler and more malignant than the original crime syndicate members. If you haven't seen the first series, it isn't of much use to watch part two. Even if you don't necessarily require the main characters' backgrounds and previous crimes, there still are loads of references towards stuff that happened in the first season.
The story picks up again three years later, with the earlier than expected release from prison of Ray Van Mechelen and Eddy Stoefs, two of the gang's most prominent members. They meet up to search for their former pal Jan Verplancke, who stole all their money and disappeared towards Thailand to open a sex club. They also intend to boost new life and energy into their former activities, but the Belgian sex industry has changed severely during their three years of absence. There are new and relentless players on the market (Belgian as well as Russian mob organizations), docile and "cheap" girls can only still be found in poor Eastern European countries and the relationships between the former partners have watered down into sheer hostility and complete distrust. The Antwerp police continuously try to disable the organization but perhaps they don't even have to, as they are likely to kill off each other first. The carefully researched and elaborated scenarios, courtesy of Guy Goossens and Mark Punt, still pay and extended deal of attention to character development and human emotions. It's a remarkable and highly praiseworthy accomplishment especially for a Belgian production how the numerous and often extremely versatile story lines and sub plots merge together throughout all ten episodes. Whether it concerns the hopeless situation of the girls or the downwards spiral into utter madness of the villains, everything is near perfect to the greatest detail. Even more the case than in series one, part two of "Matroesjkas" isn't always suitable for viewers with a sensitive nerve system or easily upset stomachs. There's a lot of misogynic violence, brutal executions, rape, extortion, excessively foul language, mental agony and revenge. But, as I stated in my review of the first series already, what else do you expect from an allegory focusing on the sex industry! If you want it to come across as realistic and plausible, extreme violence and exploitative sleaze are fundamental.
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