7.6/10
178,597
875 user 227 critic

Traffic (2000)

A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron's wife attempts to carry on the family business.

Director:

Writers:

(miniseries Traffik), (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
638 ( 1,803)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 4 Oscars. Another 69 wins & 83 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

21 Grams (2003)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A freak accident brings together a critically ill mathematician, a grieving mother, and a born-again ex-con.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Stars: Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, Naomi Watts
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin
Out of Sight (1998)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A career bank robber breaks out of jail, and shares a moment of mutual attraction with a U.S. Marshal he has kidnapped.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris
The Insider (1999)
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco.

Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Andrew Chavez ...
Desert Truck Driver
...
Desert Truck Driver
...
...
Salazar Soldier / The Torturer
...
Salazar Soldier #2
...
Lawyer Rodman
...
...
Clerk
Lorene Hetherington ...
State Capitol Reporter #1
Eric Collins ...
State Capitol Reporter #2
...
DEA Agent - CalTrans
Peter Stader ...
DEA Agent - CalTrans
...
DEA Agent - CalTrans
Edit

Storyline

An intertwined drama about the United States' war on drugs, seen through the eyes of a once conservative judge, now newly-appointed drug czar, his heroin-addicted daughter, two DEA agents, a jailed drug kingpin's wife, and a Mexican cop who begins to question his boss's motives.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No One Gets Away Clean See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive drug content, strong language, violence and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Traffik  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$184,725, 27 December 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$124,115,725

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$83,400,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (rough cut)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

To prepare for the scenes in which they were high, the teens had to have peppermint dust blown into their face to make their eyes and noses red. See more »

Goofs

During the woman's speech in the courtroom, you can clearly see the microphone switch to be in the off position. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Javier Rodriguez: [in Spanish] Last night I had an ugly nightmare.
Manolo Sanchez: [in Spanish] Oh yeah? What happened, man?
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits except for the film's title in the lower left corner. See more »

Connections

Referenced in In the Jungle: The making of Cannibal Holocaust (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Give The Po' Man A Break
Written by Fatboy Slim (as Norman Cook)
Performed by Fatboy Slim
Courtesy of Astralwerks Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Traffic delivers a powerful message with impeccable flair.
9 January 2001 | by See all my reviews

Early in the year 2000, director Steven Soderbergh's film, Erin Brokovich, sizzled at the box office (bringing in over $130 million) while receiving critical acclaim. Now, with the release of his latest film, Traffic, Soderbergh stands to earn Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Picture for both of these movies. It's no wonder, either, as Traffic is one of the most gripping films to hit theatres in 2000.

Traffic takes on the complex issues involved with the war on drugs in the United States and Mexico from the view of these nations as a whole to the very personal level. In the film, three stories unfold to illustrate the near impossibility of ever stopping the drug trade, despite the billion dollars that the US spends each year for just that cause. While the tales are related, the characters rarely, if ever, cross paths with one another. This is one of the elements that allows Soderbergh to deliver his message so effectively.

The first story features Benicio Del Toro as Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez. A cop in Baja, Mexico, he enforces the law and allows the wheels to be greased from time to time. After pulling off a huge drug bust on the Juarez drug cartel, the powerful General Salazar swoops in to confiscate all of the drugs and the credit. Later, Javier and his partner are recruited by Salazar to fight the war on drugs by aiding him in bringing down the Obregon cartel that has plagued Tijuana for some time.

Meanwhile, back in the States, Judge Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) of the Ohio Supreme Court is about to be appointed by the President as the nation's new leader in the drug war. For the judge, the drug war is about to become more personal than he could ever have imagined.

In San Diego, Monty (Don Cheadle) and Ray (Luis Guzman) are two federal agents perpetrating a drug bust on a slimy drug supplier named Eduardo Ruiz (Miguel Ferrer). The events that follow lead them up the drug food chain to Carlos Ayala, a well-to-do suburban man who has been smuggling illegal drugs into the country from Mexico. His arrest leaves his pregnant wife, Helena (Katherine Zeta-Jones, who was really pregnant during the film), to fend for herself while taking care of their son, court costs, and a $3 million dollar debt to the drug lords in Mexico.

Traffic, written by Simon Moore (the writer for the British miniseries, Traffik, upon which this script is based), is superbly crafted and woven. We learn just enough about each character to give us some insight into their motives for the courses they choose to follow. By the films end, matters are not neatly wrapped up; there is not a fairy tale ending. This simply adds to the realism of the issues presented within the movie. Furthermore, the intertwining stories drive home the fact that drugs are closer to you than you think.

The script is bolstered by the phenomenal, ensemble cast. Zeta-Jones and Del Toro have both received Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Actor in a drama for their roles in this film. Don Cheadle is superb in his role. Michael Douglas gives his usual performance while Erika Christensen does a good job as his daughter. Topher Grace (of TV's That 70's Show) is excellent as her upper-class, druggie boyfriend. Dennis Quid's character, while played adequately, is underused.

The stories were shot using various filters and lenses, neatly separating them as the film went from one to another and adding to the viewing pleasure of the movie. Mexico is filmed through a hand held camera and yellow lens to give it a dry, grainy, shaky look that heightens the feel of unrest involved with Del Toro's situation. Douglas' story is initially filmed in a hue of solemn, comforting blue. Zeta-Jones' story is filmed without the use of lenses, suggesting that her situation and actions are the most realistic and achievable of all those presented.

Despite some dialogue that spouts off statistics and seems a bit preachy, Traffic ranks among the top ten films of 2000, surpassing even Soderbergh's other venture, Erin Brokovich. Don't be surprised if this film picks up the Oscar for Best Picture.

By film's end, the message is clear and powerful. The fight against drugs is a long, uphill battle, but it is better than no battle at all.


49 of 57 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 875 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Watch the Latest Episode of "The IMDb Show"

Katee Sackhoff talks about her characters on "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Wars: Rebels," and "The Flash." Plus, "The IMDb Show" learns what it takes to wield a lightsaber.

Watch the show