Red Light on Prime Video

Prostitution and human trafficking are at the heart of this series which is a Dutch/Belgian co-production. It was originally released in the Netherlands in 2020 and now comes to North American viewers via Prime Video.

Three women of totally different backgrounds find their lives being intertwined due to their involvement in the worlds of sex trafficking and prostitution. A prostitute named Sylvia (Carice van Houten – from television’s Game of Thrones) runs a brothel alongside her rather scummy boyfriend. Esther (Halina Reijn – Valkyrie, Black Book) is a renowned opera singer who comes from a wealthy family. Evi (Maaike Neuville – Bovary) is a policewoman who is trying to juggle her job while being a mother.

This series is a case of the cast doing a better job than the material they are handed. What I mean is the three lead actresses are pretty much the only reason to watch this series. That is due to the story being weak and the execution even weaker. Red Light is set up as a thriller yet it contains precious little of the elements required of the genre. Mostly because, despite the attempt to construct tension via the multi-layered storyline, this is a very predictable series. Probably could have worked better as a feature-length film rather than a 10 episode series.

This is frustrating because you can see that there is plenty of potential here. The idea of women’s bodies and the way they are used – for pleasure, violence and a number of other bad or exploitative things. Looking at prostitution and sex trafficking from the female perspective, which gives the typical storyline a rather unique viewpoint.

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