Traffic

Traffic
Release Date: 27th December 2000
Directors: Steven Soderbergh
Rating: 18
USA Films, Bedford Falls Productions, Compulsion Inc., Initial Entertainment Group, Splendid Medien AG

Drug dealing is serious business and putting a stop to it all seems to be an impossibility. Traffic shows three sides to the drug trading story; concerned father’s working for the government, two Mexican police seeing the corrupt nature of it all, and a Mother who has to see her husband taken away from her due to his unruly business. Three stories all passing each other by, with a lot of detestable characters flowing from one to the other. Drugs are bad, mmkay?

One smart touch in Traffic is how clear the three stories are on the screen. The use of colour is a rather neat way to split the three apart and we get a yellow tinge for the Mexican side, a blue overcast look for the Government side and a clear clarity for the Mother’s tale. It is a smart touch and even when the stories begin to converge with one another, there is no way of losing sight of things. A clever use of film which should be used more frequently, though a blue appearance can make it all look a little gloomy, even when it is meant to. Each story has a different feel, though all have the same message. Becoming involved with drugs isn’t a good thing. Maybe a little too much so, the scenes with the teenagers smoking some dope felt a little too forced, the Father’s daughter sure loves to snort. The police spying and Mexican police duo make for far more compelling moments, showing some characters which aren’t taking the dick route.

And Traffic is full of dicks. The majority of the cast are incredibly frustrating to view and by the end you’ll wish each one faces a disgusting fate. Few do. The Mother makes me the sickest, a completely shallow character who just wants lots of cash and will do anything to get it. It is her role, but she just isn’t entertaining to watch. She isn’t a compelling character, just an irritating one. Second place goes to the daughter, a rebellious teenage girl who likes to take drugs with her friends. Then does a lot of dumb shit to do more drugs than before just to get at her parents. Would have been nice to see her face a fate one of her friends did. And I think we should have cared about the problems she was going through.

Maybe it is due to my disinterest on the topic, but Traffic is neither moving, powerful or meaningful. It just tells us drugs are bad, and Counselor Mackey from South Park has already given that message to me. A good film should be able to drive you in no matter what the subject, this just feels like a tick list of problems thrown into the wild. Everyone is in on it, everyone does it, it isn’t easy to solve. Excellent editing kept me through it and I didn’t hate the film at all, just didn’t really gain anything from it.

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