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.
Traffic is an incredible movie. The director, Steven Soderbergh (sex, lies and videotape, out of sight, erin brockovich, etc...) has created a film that combines elements of Hollywood and independent filmmaking. On one hand, he has created an epic that has a very wide scope and has used some famous Hollywood actors. On the other hand, as the cameraman for the film, he has shot it with a handheld camera and and makes the film visually very different from traditional films. He presents the drug war in the United States from three perspectives. The first is of a police officer (superbly played by Benicio del Toro)in Tijuana struggling with the difficult situations that such a job creates in the center of drug trafficking from Mexico to the United States. Catherine Zeta Jones plays the wife of the leader of a drug cartel in San Diego who gets arrested. Once naive about his business, she takes charge of the operations. The third story deals with the appointment of conservative Ohio Supreme Court justice Robert Wakefield, played by Michael Douglas, to the post of drug czar. This occurs while his daughter Caroline, portrayed emotionally by Erika Christensen starts descending into a world of drugs thanks to her boyfriend Seth Abrahams. (Topher Grace from "That 70's Show" plays Seth) These three stories are distinguishable visually. The Tijuana story is shot with different tones of yellow, giving everything that goes on in the story a feel similar to that of a hot desert. The San Diego story has warm soft colors, representing Helena Ayala's (Catherine Zeta Jones' character) once peaceful social soccer mom life. Finally, Cincinatti and Washington, D.C., the cities where the story of the drug czar takes place is shot in a cold blue, giving it an emotionless feel. Despite the importance of the visuals, what makes this film that much better is the fact that Soderbergh does not moralize. There is not an anti-drug stance but there is also not a strong advocacy of legalization. Traffic shows a problem with no current solution. The viewer has to decide for himself. 10/10
28 of 33 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this