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.
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.
There are no opening credits except for the film's title in the lower left corner. See more »
The European DVD features 24 deleted scenes, including:
A scene at Manolo's house. Manolo is paranoid that the Cartel is after him
An extended scene between Manolo and Javier in the car, where Javier asks Manolo to keep his mouth shut about the Cartel
The assassin buying some hi-tech gadgets, including a cell-phone that can not be tapped (probably the one he later uses to communicate with Helena during his assassination attempt)
A scene where Judge Wakefield and Carlos Ayala's defence attorney meet at the congress party, showing that the two are old friends
A sequence of Helena going to a fancy party
An extended scene between Helena and Arnie Metzger
Two short scenes involving Manolo and Javier bringing Salma Hayek to the drug lord
An alternate scene of Helena visiting Carlos in prison
A scene where Helena tries to pawn her paintings
A scene where Helena discusses something over her cell-phone
An alternate sequence of Judge Wakefield looking for Caroline, involving Seth.
A scene where Helena asks Arnie to introduce her to the Obregón Cartel
A scene where Helena visits the factory where the cocaine dolls are made
A scene where Judge Wakefield searches Caroline's room for drugs, finding some in her diary
Three scenes involving Helena having to smuggle drugs into the US, as a test for the Obregón Cartel. She ends up not doing it.
Helena meeting the Obregón assassin at the playground
Judge Wakefield taking a stoned Caroline home after he found her. She tells him that she did it all because of a 'school assignment'.
Javier meeting Judge Wakefield after the drug bust
Javier meeting with Obregón, asking him for lights at baseball fields. He agrees.
Gordon sitting in the surveillance van in front of the Ayala residence with his new partner, listening to Carlos telling someone over the phone that they are 'back in business' and 'completely untouchable'
Involving, informative and unbiased look at the drug problem
In Mexico Officer Javier Rodriquez Rodriquez is stuck in the middel of a country where the drug dealers and the police work hand in hand and murder is rife. In the USA the head of one of the cartels Javier is trying to close is taken to court by the DEA who have an informant (Eduardo Ruiz) in the custody of Agents Montel Gordon and Ray Castro, leaving his wife, Helena, to take care of his business. Over all this a new drug czar is appointed who begins to find that the war on drugs is not as simple as it seems and that it is a war raged in his own home.
Based on the channel 4 series Traffik this is an open-minded intelligent look at the war on drugs. Looking at the problem across several interlinking stories allows us to hear everyone's side to see the internal problems in Mexico, to see the futility of the DEA's actions even to see the scope of the problem facing the US political machine as it tries to fight a war against the drugs trade on all sides. The stories are told with out over doing it action happens without pomp or fanfare, explosions happen in silence, killings are brutal, swift and final. This is not an action movie. The thoughtful nature means the film moves slowly and, if you're not used to following stories then it may frustrate you. However those wishing something to get you thinking, during and after the film should be rewarded.
The film is intelligent far beyond the subject matter. The direction and editing is perfect. The scenes in Mexico are all yellow and washed out giving a desolate feeling, the scenes in political America are given a blue hue to give a colder, detached feel to the business while the scenes with the DEA are noticeably bright and realistic. This is typical of the intelligence put into the film it rewards you the more you watch it. The casting is another example of how right the film is.
Del Toro is perfect he gets the moodiness spot on but also has a fun side to his character. Cheadle and Guzman are as good as they always are and play off each other well they have an element of the `buddy cop' couple without becoming caricatures. Douglas is really good how often can you say that!? His young wife is also very good I expected her to be the weak link but she gave a good performance. These are the main players but really the cast is deep in quality from those that have bigger roles (Quaid, Bratt, Miguel Ferrer) to those that essentially have only a few lines (Albert Finney, Peter Riegert).
The strength of the film is that it lets you work it out yourself. It never goes one way or the other on the drugs issue and leaves you to decide for yourself what should happen. This is rare in an `issue' film and it should be commended. The film allows long silences for us to think but yet is never boring or dull.
Overall this is a really good film. It is shorter and more polished than the mini-series it came from, but it is very intelligently done and is though-provoking. Anyone who thinks they are sure of their stance on drugs should watch this no matter what you think this will highlight the fact that it is a complex problem to which there is no simple solution. Excellent.
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