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Heavy Traffic
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Reviews & Ratings for
Heavy Traffic More at IMDbPro »

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Get out of your Ghetto.

10/10
Author: david-1036 from NY, NY
8 November 2003

Breathtaking. Get past your own discomfort with relating to racial stereotypes and realize that this film is genius. A love story at heart, and perhaps one of the most profoundly honest and insightful films to date, Heavy Traffic broke the barriers of 'political correctness' before the people who coined that term were even born. If nothing else consider what is being said about settling for the familiar and not venturing outside of your personal neighborhood. Awe inspiring, Ralph Bakshi should be canonized.

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Genius

10/10
Author: beastiebcw
11 March 2004

This film is one you'll pretty much love or hate. I think to those who don't like it . . . either you're sensitive to the nudity, issues it covers, or other content material, or maybe you just don't understand it.

Sometimes confusion can lead to hatred. But the film is without a doubt visually stimulating. IMDB voters are giving it crap ratings, yet I agree with the people who give out star ratings, for this piece got 3.5 stars out of 4. And it deserves it. It's groundbreaking, and such a perfect posterchild for the 70s in terms of seedy animation and urban decay.

Well done Bakshi, well done.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Bakshi's most personal work is a completely outlandish, crude, overtly abstract New York satire

9/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
27 April 2007

Heavy Traffic is, like many of Ralph Bakshi's films, a like it or hate it affair, but for those that respond to it, the film provides many a surprising attack on sensibility, decency, and what it means to get by in urban sprawl. It's almost too personal; one can see Bakshi or friends of his having gone through some of the little things in the lower ranks of New York City's daily life (particularly Brooklyn life) as depicted here. But it's this connection to a personal reality- and then a TOTAL adherence to turning this reality on its head and making it as wild, violent, and sexually deviant as possible- that is the key to the success of Bakshi's film, the best of his I've seen so far. His main character, Michael, is probably loosely based on himself; a young, would-be underground cartoonist who lives with insanely irate parents (Italian father and Jewish mother), and interacts with the neighborhood he's in with a casual attitude and a little reluctance to join in the mayhem that goes on with such kooky cats. Enter in Carole, a black bartender who won't take s*** from anyone, who teams up as a business partner, more or less, with Michael to first get cartoons off the ground, then, so it goes, misadventures in prostitution. It all leads up to an ending that isn't expected, though a sort of double-piling of shock and pleasant surprise.

Heavy Traffic outlays Bakshi's outlook on life in a skill that could be called animated exploitation film-making. However, it's through this overloading of characters *meant* to be unattractive, sexually piggish, wretchedly racist (and, on the other side of the coin, sexist), and violent in the tradition of the Looney Tunes cartoons with the worst taste, that the film gets to the guts of the matter. It's a half-embrace, half-attack on a lack of values in a society, and as Baskhi relishes in his excess, he also is criticizing both himself for lapping it up and those in the neighborhood for being such eccentric mother-f***ers. And, as a satire should be, it's very funny, occasionally uproariously so. Scenes like Michael being pressured to get it on with the girl on the mattress on the roof, and the outcome as a sort of running gag; the scene with the song Mabeline playing, as Baskhi puts out drawings that are without much color, and look incredible for the reason that there's seemingly little effort put into the animation with the random over-the-top sexual positions; the little bits in the feuding with Michael's parents, the mother with her Jewish-star knife-holster and the father with his dedication to the "Godfather", who eats little people in his pasta, over anything really with his family; and when Michael presents "religious" cartoons to a dying old man, which to any prurient Christian taste is hilariously offensive and, well, cool.

Bakshi is so personal at times, with his taste in color schemes, in over-lapping images with film clips, combining live-action and animation (usually with dancing ladies on one side and a lurid little twerp gawking on the other), and even likely real family photos from his own family laid in, that it levels going too far. There's a tendency for self-indulgence, however not always the bad kind, if that makes sense, and one can see how the film can and has been vehemently criticized for what it is really trying to criticize in the film. But deep down, past the creative madman in Bakshi, is also a heart; his film ends on a touching note, as abstraction turns real and a totally live scene reveals another level to Michael and Carol, as real outcasts who are both totally stubborn, and somehow meant for each other. Heavy Traffic is a one-of-a-kind affair, and the kind of under-the-radar act of an outrageous spectacle that it could only be done in the 70s. Grade: A-

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15 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Artistic satire is often overlooked

Author: ozzfan2 from Southern Illinois
30 May 2004

A few previous critics of this work by Bakshi slam it for being "stereotypical" and thereby negative as a whole by implementing foul humor, language and at times even suggest that because it's a cartoon that it owes something to child-oriented animation. This is absolute pig swill. Bakshi's vision in Heavy Traffic is to present life on the streets as he knows it. His style is truly unique, overlaying animation onto real stills and film sequences to add to the New york flavor that exists throughout the film. An abusive Italian married to a worrying Jewish woman is part of our reality. Gays being abused and people having to worry about their jobs being taken by minority groups for less pay and benefits because they're more desperate than we are is part of our reality. Love regardless of skin color, and facing the consequences for it is SADLY part of our reality. By using animation, Bakshi is exercising his artistic abilities while setting it in times and themes he is familiar with. This film, along with the criminally banned Coonskin should be hailed as modern masterpieces not for their visual aspects, but for the truth lying beneath and his unabashed look at how life really is. Comparing this film to "Shrek" is like comparing the original Night of the Living Dead to the recent Dawn of the dead remake. Granted they're both horror, but they're lightyears apart and don't use any of the same effects techniques. One, like Heavy Traffic, was made for social commentary, whereas the remake, like Shrek, is merely for our homogenized entertainment values.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Generally Disappointing

5/10
Author: gavin6942 from United States
7 June 2013

An "underground" cartoonist contends with life in the inner city, where various unsavory characters serve as inspiration for his artwork.

Another reviewer said that people who review this film poorly are either offended by the nudity or just do not get it. The nudity (and blood) do not bother me in the slightest -- fill the screen with as many animated sex organs as you feel necessary, for all I care. On the second point, it is possible I do not get it.

While I understand the animation was innovative for its time and that the film shows urban decay -- both with cartoons and actual locations -- I cannot help but think that it just has not aged very well. Some scenes I found excellent (such as the God segment), while others were completely forgettable. It balanced out to be average at best.

The New York Times called it the "most original American film of the year." Could they look back now and say that again? I am not so sure.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

What the* did I just see?

10/10
Author: Vastarien202 from United States
26 February 2008

I just finished watching this film, and I couldn't be more in awe. It's definitely one of the most bizarre pieces of true Art that I have seen in recent years, and yet the naked honesty is instantly resonant on a very deep level. This a a very dark look at one short period in a young artist's life in what seems to be New York. Ralph is not afraid to show the extreme in the ordinary, the sublime in the tragic, the sparkling filth that charges the air with horror and magic. This is our world, and his, with all the petty bitterness and hope that goes with it. I am saddened by those who say this film is garbage; I was at times horrified, laughing, moved, angered, and yet I emerged from the experience hopeful. I have rarely ever seen such a pure and rich depth of feeling as with this film. Ralph Bakshi is indeed a Master of our time, and the fact that he is still fairly obscure is a terrible waste. See this film, but keep the kids far away, it's rated R for a reason.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

There's a lack of story in this!

1/10
Author: Irishmoviereviewer from Ireland
5 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I felt that this movie was rather stupid than "an underrated gem" as some reviewer described it.

There was no story in this at all, all you see is women sticking their boobs out, people taking drugs, men's pants going down and seeing their penises.

What do they have in meaning? Absouletely nothing!

Yeah I know the cartoonist is the lead character but, he ain't doing a good job really.

I would definitely give this movie a 0/10 if I had the chance to do on here! It's lame, rubbish and just again, it has no meaning.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Unpleasant people doing unpleasant things to each other

4/10
Author: CathodeRayTubesRock from United States
21 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First off, I don't give a damn about political correctness so no points off. Second, I grew up in the inner city so no points off for grittiness.

However, I do want to watch a movie with something interesting to say other than people are mean to each other and out for their own self-interest. That's 90 percent of the movie. His dad is a POS Italian misogynistic womanizer works for the mob. His mom is a bitter Jewish shrew. He's just a lost asshole animator who wants to sell "Wizards".

Feel free to watch it if you're wasted and want to watch some poorly drawn violent dark stupidity.

Oh, btw, everything is excusable since Bakshi is making a statement about society. Sure. His "statement" about society is that it's violent and sucks.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Lost Animated Gem

9/10
Author: Anthony Iessi
5 March 2013

Heavy Traffic is only known by the hardcore Ralph Bakshi fan base and the occasional art house folk, but not by much else. Its probably due to its notorious stamp of an X rating and its inclusion of countless ethnic stereotypes that led to its obscurity. Don't be fooled, this is not a porno. It was only given the rating due to its raunchy humor, which back in 1973 was considered too edgy for the masses. It's no different than what Family Guy is doing now on network television. As far as the racism is concerned, it's brutal, but outdated. Every ethnic person In the film represents a familiar joke or stereotype of the time. Now, the movie itself is a triumph. Truly an underestimated piece of artistic genius from one of the greatest minds that has ever drawn a cartoon. Ralph pours his culture, anger, sadness, laughter and happiness into every frame of this film. Almost to a biographic extent. He considers it his favorite project, and its obvious why. From the music, to the animation, Heavy Traffic proves that its more than a cartoon, but a microcosm of urban life in the cruelest decade to live in it. If you can get past it's lack of political correctness, it's a great flick.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Excellent

10/10
Author: haildevilman from Tokyo, Japan
30 March 2006

R.B.'s best by far. I'm wondering how much of this is autobiographical. The only question being if it's 100% or not.

Great characters. Seemed like more kept getting introduced then brushed off. It's like everyone knows everyone.

Not for people squeamish about un-P.C. humor here. Every race took a few hits in the 'stereotyping' department. I think R.B. just tried to make fun of all of them.

Mobbed-up Italians, Guilt-ridden (and inducing) Jews, uptight whites, flaming gays, and Jive-talking blacks. And the lead character's J.D. friends trying to hook him up.

And did anyone notice the vintage strip show playing in the background during the bar scene? Looked like it was from the 1940's.

Great film.

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