Monday, September 19, 2016


Movie Name: Traffic
Year of Release: 2000
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta Jones, Dennis Quaid, Don Cheadle, Albert Finney, Tomas Milian, Jacob Vargas, Steven Bauer, Benjamin Bratt, James Brolin, Clifton Collins Jr., Miguel Ferrer, Amy Irving, Topher Grace, Erika Christensen, Luis Guzman, D. W. Moffett, Peter Riegert, Michael O'Neill
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9
Watch it on Amazon

Steven Soderbergh finished the year 2000 with a stunning feature, following his equally good "Erin Brockovich" which had premiered in March of that year. The film is an adaptation of a British tv show by the name of Traffik, and it follows the illegal drug trafficking from a series of different perspectives, namely the ones who use it, the police officers trying to dismantle the distribution scheme, the politicians and the traffickers. The film has three main storylines, with the first one focusing on the drug trade in Mexico. This storyline focuses specifically on Javier, a police officer who finds himself in a situation that slowly reveals itself to be compromising. Javier wants above all, to make life better for his neighborhood, and he sees nothing but corruption in the police force and army. The second storyline focuses on a powerful politician, Robert Wakefield, who is appointed to a high ranking position to tackle the war on drugs. Without his knowledge, his daughter has slowly descended to drug addiction, and that takes a huge toll on his family and professional life. The third storyline focuses on the DEA side of things, in the US. The long fingers of the Mexican drug cartels have made their way into the US, and when one of their puppets is caught, his pregnant wife tries to sort things out, with surprising results.
"Traffic" is a very ambitious film, tracing the impacts of drug trafficking and usage, across multiple countries and storylines, with director Steven Soderbergh (also working as a cinematographer), creating a differentiation for each segment, with different stylistic choices. The film is very successful in bringing the grittiness of the drug trade, of the violence that surrounds it and its consequences to life. It also showcases on a more individual focused case, how drugs can be destructive, and mortgage someone's future almost permanently. It's a beautifully stated work, which is the trademark of the talented Steven Soderbergh, which mixes his more experimental side, while also maintaining a straightforward approach to storytelling. The performances of the ensemble cast are all great, highlighting Benicio Del Toro, who has never been better. A very good film always worth revisiting.