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Trafficevokes the high stakes and high risks of the drug trade, as seen through a series of interrelated stories, some of which are highly personal and some of which are filled with intrigue and danger.
Thriller - This absorbing study of the U.S. war on drugs will please adults
looking for an intelligent entertainment. Some violence and sex
makes the film inappropriate for young children, but mature teens
will be able to handle the subject matter.
PROFANITY: Frequent use of strong profanity. SEX/NUDITY: Sex and unrelated nudity. VIOLENCE: Beatings, shootings. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Lots of teen drug use. ACTION: One foot chase. COMEDY: Rare comic banter.
Featuring well over one hundred speaking parts over the course of a running time that just misses the two-and-a-half-hour mark, Steven Soderbergh's sprawling drama Traffic is indeed jam-packed, but never does it reach a stall. This saga of the so-called "war" on drugs is a masterwork of superb performance, smart writing--and, most of all, the mark of a director who not only knows what he wants, but also exactly how to make his ambitious vision a glorious reality.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
This movie received higher opinions than I thought it would, but not by much. This is one of those movies some people love and others hate. Which one you will be depends on how closely your opinions match those of critics. If you tend to like the same movies as critics, then chances are very good that you will love Traffic.
If you and critics don't agree very often, you may want to avoid this movie, or at least be sure to read all the information we provide, especially the detailed opinions, before deciding to see it.
My Thoughts: (before opinions collected)
Don't let the all star cast fool you. I do not feel this is a movie the average moviegoer will enjoy very much. At the advance screening, I saw a dozen or more people leave before the movie was even half over (I wished I could have). I believe the average moviegoer will find it boring and the unique way it was filmed will annoy many, including me. It looked as if they filmed it with a handheld video camera. It was constantly shaking and grainy with poor lighting. The story wasn't interesting and you never cared a bit for most of the characters.
Mexican policeman Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) works on and around the border, with his close friend and fellow policeman Manolo Sanchez (Jacob Vargas), under Mexico's number one crime fighter, General Salazar (Tomas Milian). Confronted with temptations of power and money, Javier resists them but finds himself — and Manolo — caught in a web of corruption that leads to an untenable situation.
Back in the U.S., Ohio State Supreme Court Justice Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) is named by the President as the new anti-drug czar. Collecting information, the uncompromising and conservative Wakefield prepares to supervise the country's task forces and partner them with Mexico's. But, at home, he and his wife Barbara (Amy Irving) must deal with their increasingly drug-addicted teenage daughter Caroline (Erika Christensen).
In San Diego, undercover DEA agents Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) and Ray Castro (Luis Guzman) work overtime to help the U.S. government build its case against the infamous Obregon drug cartel. Their bust of mid-level drug trafficker Eduardo Ruiz (Miguel Ferrer) pays off when their new prisoner cuts a deal to testify against wealthy drug baron Carlos Ayala (Steven Bauer), who lives in the upscale suburbs. Cabs is arrested, shocking his unknowing and pregnant wife Helena (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Helena and her son are quickly threatened by her husband's associates and tailed by the DEA agents. Enlisting the aid of attorney Arnie Metzger (Dennis Quaid), Helena vows to get Cabs out of jail and keep her children safe — even if it means taking over her husband's business.