4 December 2013 11:44 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Traffic

Written by Stephen Gaghan

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

USA, 2000

In his review of King of the Hill, Zach Lewis skewers Steven Soderbergh’s fascination with political structures throughout the director’s filmography and reading the 1993 film’s Depression-era survivalism as a “residual effect of those outside any political sphere.” Seven years after King of the Hill, Soderbergh’s fixation on politics would reach its peak in Traffic, an endlessly complex examination of America’s War on Drugs.

Traffic‘s genesis is simple enough, beginning with a pair of cops. Having run down a Mexican drug courier mid-transport, officer Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) and his partner find their score short-lived when high-ranking General Salazar (Tomas Milian) pulls rank and takes over the drug bust. Here, the simplicity of Traffic dissipates with the monochrome yellows of the Tijuana desert. Though Rodriguez’s would-be arrest implies it, smuggling cocaine from Mexico »

- David Klein

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