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Traffic [HD DVD]
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Product Description

Universal Traffic - HD DVD
Traffic is an astonishing experience! Its the high-stakes, high-risk world of the drug trade as seen through a well-blended mix of interrelated stories: a Mexican policeman (Benicio Del Toro) finds himself and his partner caught in an often deadly web of corruption; a pair of DEA agents (Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman) work undercover in a sordid and dangerous part of San Diego; a wealthy drug baron living in upscale, suburban America is arrested and learns how quickly his unknowing and pampered wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) takes over his business; and the U.S. Presidents newdrug czar (Michael Douglas) must deal with his increasingly drug-addicted teenage daughter.

Featuring a huge cast of characters, the ambitious and breathtaking Traffic is a tapestry of three separate stories woven together by a common theme: the war on drugs. In Ohio, there's the newly appointed government drug czar (Michael Douglas) who realizes after he's accepted the job that he may have gotten into a no-win situation. Not only that, his teenage daughter (Erika Christensen) is herself quietly developing a nasty addiction problem. In San Diego, a drug kingpin (Steven Bauer) is arrested on information provided by an informant (Miguel Ferrer) who was nabbed by two undercover detectives (Don Cheadle and Luis Guzm¨˘n). The kingpin's wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), heretofore ignorant of where her husband's wealth comes from, gets a crash course in the drug business and its nasty side effects. And south of the border, a Mexican cop (Benicio Del Toro) finds himself caught between both his home country and the U.S., as corrupt government officials duke it out with the drug cartel for control of trafficking various drugs back and forth across the border.

Bold in scope, Traffic showcases Steven Soderbergh at the top of his game, directing a peerless ensemble cast in a gritty, multifaceted tale that will captivate you from beginning to end. Utilizing the no-frills techniques of the Dogme 95 school, Soderbergh enhances his hand-held filming with imaginative editing and film-stock manipulation that eerily captures the atmosphere of each location: a washed-out, grainy Mexico; a blue and chilly Ohio; and a sleek, sun-dappled San Diego. But Traffic is more than a film-school exercise. Soderbergh and screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (adapting the British TV miniseries Traffik to the U.S.) seamlessly weave the threads of each separate plotline into one solid tale, with the actions of one plot having quiet repercussions on the other two. And if you needed more proof that Soderbergh takes unparalleled care with his actors, practically all the members of this cast turn in their best work ever, the standout being an Oscar-worthy Del Toro as the conflicted moral conscience of the film. While no story is fully resolved in the film, you'll be haunted by these characters days after you've seen the film. By far one of the best movies of 2000. --Mark Englehart

Customer Reviews:

  • Incredibly rich and provocative story with a very important message
    Steven Soderbergh's Traffic is, in my opinion, a well put-together masterpiece. It is a film that truly shows off the talent of its director and its stars in a completely interesting way. The acting is top-notch (be sure to look for Don Cheadle and Louis Guzman as two DEA agents and Steven Bauer as a California drug lord) and the cinematography is excellent. I would easily recommend Traffic to anyone interested in learning how to make a movie. 5 Stars ...more info
  • A must see movie
    I think it was the director (Soderberg) who said that he wanted to make a movie that did not reflect his views on the drug issue, but one which presented the facts as they were so that viewers could come up with their own conclusions. In this he succeeded. Traffic is a fairly unbiased look at the drug problem in the Mexico and the U.S. The Mexican half of the film is in Spanish with English subtitles, which in my opinion gives the film a more realistic feel. The documentary type sequences in the film (with real politicians and other officials) also add to the feeling of authenticity.

    There are a number of subplots in the film which makes the film slightly difficult to follow if you aren't paying careful attention. Fortunately, all these subplots are somehow related, a masterful stroke as the subplots add to the complexity of the film reflecting the complexity of the problem in the real world.

    I appreciated Soderberg not going down the route that many other American movie makers have gone. I'm referring to those directors who love the idea that the Americans are the heroes and the rest of the world is the bad-guys (A variation on the cowboys and Indians theme that many other directors have found difficult to grow out of). In traffic we have the `bad-guys' on both sides of the border. In fact one of the `bad-guys' turns out to be the daughter (Erika Christensen) of the man heading the war on drugs (Michael Douglas).

    If you are a Michael Douglas fan, you won't be disappointed. If you are a Catherine Zeta Jones fan, you won't be disappointed. In fact if you are a fan of great movies, with great storylines and totally believable people you won't be disappointed with this film. Watch it to see what I'm talking about....more info

  • Fantastic ensemble acting
    Loved the camera techniques - from hand-held to longshots, the audience becomes completely involved in the characters' situations. This movie is one to focus on while watching - the dialogue is swift, and the spanish government/drug lords can get confusing. (Maybe I was just slow..) Benicio Del Toro, Don Cheadle, Topher Grace, Erika Christensen, and Michael Douglas were excellent. ...more info
  • Traffic: Hierarchizing America in the U.S.-Mexico Binary
    Traffic opens with a banner on the screen announcing the filmic location to be Mexico, "twenty miles southeast of Tijuana." The film is grainy and has a decidedly yellow (although some have romanticized this color, calling it sepia) tone, and the audience is introduced to two State Police officers, Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) and Manolo Sanchez (Jacob Vargas), who are speaking Spanish. The dialogue begins with Javier explaining a nightmare to Manolo. Later, Javier and Manolo capture some drug transporters, the audience is introduced to the corrupt General Salazar (Tomas Milian), and the scene shifts to Columbus Ohio, where the graining is removed and the film is saturated with rich blue tones. Two minutes later, San Diego in all its beauty, arrives on screen.

    The audience is immediately alerted to the difference between the United States and Mexico. Not only through language, but also through Soderbergh's use of the tobacco filter. But this should not be surprising; establishing differences between the two countries is necessary for Soderbergh to maintain the hierarchical position of the United States over Mexico. And, this hierarchization is, I argue, why Soderbergh is able to critique America, vis-¨¤-vis U.S. drug policy, while still garnering critical and popular praise: implicating Mexico as the agent of America's woes and advancing stereotypical representations of both Mexico and Hispanics, effectively deposits Mexico and its inhabitants into the ancillary position of the U.S./Mexico binary.

    Richard Porton's article in Cin¨¦aste discusses the process Soderbergh goes through to create the yellowing of the Mexico scenes in the film. More importantly, in articulates the implications of Soderbergh's yellowing all of Mexico: "[Soderbergh] shot the Mexican sections 'through a tobacco filter' and then overexposed the film to imbue these vignettes with an oversaturated look. Mexico, therefore, becomes a miragelike, evanescent realm where life is cheap and morality is infinitely expendable. As film scholar and Latin American specialist Catherine Benamou observes, the movie 'posits an historical and moral hierarchy between the postmodern United States--which has to retrieve its moral foundations and family values--and premodern Mexico, which has presumably never been able to draw the line between the law and lawlessness'" (42) Significant about the hierarchy advanced by Benamou is that Mexico is implicated on both sides.

    First, the film certainly portrays Mexico as a place of lawlessness. This is seen in the opening sequence with the drug transporters: not only are they breaking the law by transporting illegal substances, but General Salazar's intervention highlights (if not immediately, then certainly later in the film) the lawlessness of the federal authorities. Lawlessness is witnessed again twenty-one minutes into the film when two American tourists are pleading for Javier's help in finding their stolen car; here, the corruption of the state authorities is illuminated by Javier's having to give the couple the phone number of a man whom they will pay, who, in turn, will pay the police to make their car appear. And, of course, the hit man Frankie Flowers (Clifton Collins, Jr.) being Hispanic and living in Mexico continues to fortify the notion of Mexico as lawless. Moreover, Soderbergh's representations of Mexicans as savages vis-¨¤-vis the torturing of Frankie Flowers by General Salazar's men also accounts for Benamou's description of Mexico as premodern. The only thing that seems strange is General Salazar yelling to his men that "we are not savages," as if the exclamations of a corrupt official enmeshed in drug trafficking could somehow erase the scenes of stereotypic barbarism that Soderbergh captures through his tobacco filter.

    Second, by yellowing all the Mexico sequences in the film, Mexico is implicated as the agent which has, as Benamou states, led the "postmodern United States" astray from its "moral foundations and family values," which it must now retrieve. Wood explains that by "beginning with the yellow camera filters, Soderbergh insinuates that nearly all Mexicans are somehow involved in the drug trade" (761). But the yellowing of Mexico implicates both the people and the land; Wood further states that "from the highest echelons of power to the street dealers and sidemen, Soderbergh's portrayal of life across the border establishes Mexico (and by extension, all of Latin America) as the fountain of evil that is the drug trade" (760).

    Since, as Porton claims, Soderbergh's film is "primarily obsessed with how drugs have befouled the American family nest" (42), the argument is thus: (1) Benamou states that the U.S. is in a hierarchical position to Mexico but must still retrieve its moral foundations and family values; (2) these foundations and values are being destroyed by drugs (as seen via the Wakefield family); (3) yellowing the Mexico sequences implicates (nearly) all of Mexico and its inhabitants in the drug trade; (4) therefore, the disintegration of family values and morals in America is a result of lawless Mexico.

    In this light, Mexico is doubly culpable: one, Mexico's own lawlessness has averted its progression into a postmodern stage of development; two, Mexico's premodernity and lawlessness has thwarted the United States and threatens to derail their progression to the next stage of cultural development, which allows Soderbergh to make his critique of the United States. Traffic can adduce the United States as a country lacking in morals and family values, but only by simultaneous producing a scapegoat that Americans can point to as the entity responsible for their woes. Wood observes that, by portraying Javier as a "noble soldier while nearly all his compatriots fall prey to kidnapping, assassination, torture, and betrayal, Traffic offers a skewed portrait of Mexican society in getting its anti-drug message across to U.S. audiences" (760)....more info

  • a fine Soderbergh masterpiece.
    This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

    Rejected by all the studios it went on to win many awards.
    The film has multiple plots, one about the hew head of the ONDCP who discovers that his daughter is using drugs. There is also a plot about drug smuggling in Mexico, and one of a man who is accused of a major smuggling ring after being fingered by a competitor.

    The film is also a critique on the US war on drugs, which is inarguably a controversal issue in politics. The film has an all-star cast with some big names. As it is a film about drugs, it depicts their use and the effects of use which many will find disturbing. The ambient music is very beautiful and the final piece, Brian Eno's "An Ending: Ascent" is one of my favorites.

    The Criterion DVD also has many special features.

    Disc one contains the film along with three audio commentaries. One with writer Stephen Gaghan and director Steven Soderbergh, another with music writer Cliff Martinez, and the final one with the producers.

    Disc two contains the mother load!
    24 deleted scenes and a gag, all with optional audio commentary by Soderbergh and Gaghan.

    There is also a demonstration of film processing and dialogue editing used to acheive the grainy look of some scenes and a few removals of background noises respectively, There is over half an hour of raw footage edited into the film incuding a cocktail party scene with interviews of actual US politicians, the filming of a warehouse where the government stores drugs being used as evidence in trials, and scenes from the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) and a slideshow drug tracker K9 dog trading cards.

    If you like the regular version of the film, you'll love this one....more info
  • Traffic
    Enjoyed this movie , but not a movie I would recommened as a must own
    on HD dvd. Looked just as good on dvd. ...more info
  • 'The drug is not in the doll, the drug is the doll'
    I have finally seen this film in it's entirety and I like to say that `Traffic' is a richly entertaining epic that recalls the great works of the 1970s, when directors like Robert Altman and Francis Ford Coppola engaged mass audiences with works of genuine substance. Soderbergh works on a larger canvass than he's ever done before, bouncing several characters and plot-lines against and off each other, so that images and themes rhyme and echo. Although the subject matter is drug trafficking, this is not an "issues" movie per se. Instead, it's a profoundly affecting dramatic thriller where the destructive forces of drugs cut across different sections of society.

    Some will say that it takes too long, or that some of the scenes are a bit slow. But does everything go fast paced in real life? It just tries to sketch a realistic view of handling with drugs. And maybe there isn't a lot of action going on, but that's not the goal of the movie.

    This film has an amazing ensemble cast where everybody is working at the top of their game. However, Benicio Del Toro definitely stands out with the breakthrough performance. I don't think it's accidental that the movie begins and ends with shots of him. He plays Javier Rodriguez, a Mexican police officer caught in a futile and corrupt system, and it's as compelling of a character as Michael Corleone. Del Toro is exceptionally relaxed and subtle, keeping his thoughts and feelings private from the other characters in the films, but sharing it with the camera. Del Toro navigates the audience through a world of impossible choices and moral corruption, quietly simmering with intense conflict just beneath the surface. Benicio's been an indie stalwart for years and this film shot his stock through the roof.

    Michael Douglas is also terrific, adding another strong performance to his gallery of flawed men in power. He shows genuine fear and vulnerability in a harrowing scene in which he searches for his daughter in a drug dealer's den. I've never seen Erika Christensen before, but she makes an impressive debut. Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman are as loose, limber and spontaneous as ever, providing plenty of comic relief as well as keeping it real. Catherine Zeta-Jones takes a complete 180 from her past roles and admirably plays against her looks, appearing very pregnant while thrown into gritty surroundings. Dennis Quaid is appropriately slimy as a corrupt lawyer.

    Anybody who is starved for a genuine piece of film making should breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy Soderbergh's engaging film.
    ...more info
  • An honest, artful take on the drug war
    "The war on drugs has many enemies. Sometimes the enemy is your own family. And I don't know how you wage war against your family." - Dialogue from "Traffic"

    Which is why the war on drugs, like the war on violence or the war on obesity or any other social war, will be difficult, if not impossible, to win. More than statistics and money, the war on drugs asks for an assault on desires of human consumption, which cannot be combated with any policy or criminal punishment.

    The most powerful element of Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic," quite possibly the best American movie in 2000, is how it lays bare the nuances of human nature that simply have no reasonable explanation. What leads good to bad? "Traffic" has no hard answers, but it does show a wide canvas of protagonists either connected to drugs in some way (whether it be enforcement, sales, or use) or lost in the pursuit of some material or chemical high. If it isn't drugs, it's money or a lifestyle one can't give up. Faced with hardship all her life, the beautiful, pregnant wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) of a drug lord refuses to return to it, using her young son's golf putter as a sign of what she has to lose. When her husband is arrested, and faced with forfeiting his entire fortune, the wife is again faced with poverty. Just watch what she does to prevent it.

    In another story, an Ohio judge (Michael Douglas) accepts a job as the nation's drug czar, and is immediately faced with his own domestic crisis; his honor student daughter, Caroline (Erika Christensen) has fallen into drug addiction with free base cocaine. While the most interesting, best-acted segment involves a corrupt Mexican cop (Benicio Del Toro) trying to walk the fine line between death and profit, all while battling his conscience, the key, absorbing scenes occur with the father and daughter in Ohio. The screenplay, written by Stephen Gagham, is adapted from a British series by the same name, draws Caroline as a character who falls hard for drugs, in the way that few people, I suspect, do.

    She cries, literally, tears of joy, at the thought of getting high. She subjects herself to whatever demand it makes of her, sexually or financially. She represents the ecstasy end of the spectrum, and rarely has it been captured so well, the abject happiness of crack. The lingering images of the film mostly involve her character, and her boyfriend Seth (Topher Grace), who is just well-versed enough to justify the use of drugs as an escape from convention.

    (...)

    This is a statement you've heard, no doubt, in any after-school special. Really, there is nothing original in "Traffic." It's been onscreen before, especially in the 1980s, when anti-drug films were the standard fare. What struck me in watching the movie is how familiar all this material is (the key drug witness wanting immunity, the corrupt cops, the daddy's little girl gone astray) and yet how the craftsmanship of Soderbergh's direction and camerawork tie it together into a moving, ambitious work.

    Del Toro, as the cop, uses a quiet smolder to show his growing frustration with the Mexican status quo regarding drug cartels. Douglas, in a rather subdued performance, is troubled from nearly the opening frame; first, as he discovers how little can be done to fight drugs, and then, with his daughter, just why that is. A wide supporting cast, including Don Cheadle, Lusi Guzman and a nearly unrecognizable Benjamin Bratt, flesh out their small parts well.

    "Traffic's" uncommon strength lies in its conflict of conventional morality vs. the baby boomer experience. There is a scene where Douglas asks his wife (Amy Irving) how long she's known about her daughter's drug use. The wife has kept her daughter's secret for six months, for no better reason than in college, she used drugs, came out all right, and look, now she's a millionaire. And so what harm could a little experimentation do? And how could she offer herself up as a hypocrite to her own daughter?

    Another question is asked: What separates our fates? The user from the addict? The alive cop at the baseball game vs. the dead one in the desert, when they were both trying to do the same thing? "Traffic" plays these questions out; we aren't surprised by the ambiguity of the results, and yet the journey of this film is as absorbing and dramatic as any in recent years....more info

  • Not worth the money
    This movie was shot in a way to intentionally to appear grainy in a lot of frames. Now the irony is obvious, what is the point to have a HD version of this movie? I loved the movie. Since I don't own the SD version, it's just a really pricy movie in my collection. Catherine Zeta Jones looked stunning in a few frames, but I am not sure if she would look any differene in 480p. It's a great movie, but you probably can buy it for a 1/4 of the price in regular DVD and you probably won't be able to tell the difference....more info
  • An Unpowerful Drama, Unimportant Film
    This Movie Started off Good then turned to Trash half way through. Who ever believed Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta in their roles? After Don Cheadles partner gets killed the film gets boring very fast. Another Over Hyped Movie that shouldn't of won as many awards as it did....more info
  • A Hard Hitting And Realistic Look At The Illicit Drug Trade!
    This movie is gritty, realistic and pulls no punches as a hard hitting look at the drug trade. This movie is like a semi documentary with a stellar ensemble cast. Miguel Ferrer gives a powerful performance as a jaded, cynical drug runner and I have liked him as an actor since I saw him in "The Stand". Catherine Zeta Jones' character evolves from a happy everyday pregnant suburban housewife to cold blooded drug dealer with a very believable performance. Also the young actres who plays Michael Douglas' daughter in this fim gives a very solid performance as well.This movie exposes the underbelly of the illicit drug trade and was most deserving of the Academy Awards that it received. Watch this movie and you will never think of drugs in a so called "harmless , recreational " way again....more info
  • Not Much Movement
    Traffic is an average movie which does not inspire enough interest to get out of that pigeon hole. It deals with many stories and they are all related on some way, obviously the director was watching some foreign films, for this is nothing new. Most of the stories are preposterous, take for example the wife of a drug dealer, in a few weeks she is talking to dangerous drug leaders in Mexico as if she knew what she was doing. Also, the drug czar wandering around in the ghettos of Baltimore, these scenes do not add up and as a result the film is mostly a compendium of utter boredom that drags on.

    ...more info
  • "Now get out of the car and shoot him in the head!"
    Regulating human behavior through law has always led to tension between governing bodies and the general public. Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" explores this truism by chronicling the trafficking and sale of illegal drugs. At the heart of this conflict is the struggle between a society that wants to stamp out this destructive scourge and the segment of the population unwilling to comply with the law because they are profiting from drug sales or consider drug use a recreational act too enjoyable to give up.

    Soderbergh's film is composed of three distinct but intertwined tales. One tale involves a judge named Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) who is appointed the nation's new drug czar. He experiences the destructive nature of drugs first-hand when his daughter, Caroline (Erika Christensen) becomes addicted to crack cocaine. Another tale features a police officer in Mexico named Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro). Rodriguez wants to disrupt the flow of drugs from its source but finds that the authorities in charge of combating drug trafficking may be part of the problem. The third tale revolves around a successful businessman named Carlos Ayala (Steven Bauer) and his wife Helena (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Their lives are shattered when Carlos is arrested for his involvement in the drug trade.

    Taken as a whole, "Traffic" has an epic feel about it because there is so much going on and so many characters that figure into the events of the three separate stories. With so many component parts to the film, it could have easily become a jumbled mess. Yet, Soderbergh smoothly transitions from story to story and ably weaves his three tales into an impressive tapestry. The acting shines from everyone involved: Douglas, Del Toro, Zeta-Jones, and Don Cheadle turn in exemplary performances while Dennis Quaid, Miguel Ferrer, Luis Guzman compliment them with strong supporting turns. "Traffic" is an ambitious piece of filmmaking that will entertain and disturb at the same time....more info
  • GRITTY AND GRIPPING...
    This is a raw and powerful movie on the drug trade and its corresponding law enforcement response. It is a series of riveting, interlocking vignettes that tell the story on all fronts of the war on drugs. It paints a picture that will stay with the viewer for some time, so powerful is the imagery employed and so compelling are the actors in their performances.

    Michael Douglas plays the part of Robert Wakefield, a newly appointed drug czar, who tries to mount an all points attack on the drug trade. Naive and well meaning, he is, unbeknownst to him, being manipulated by the powers that be in Mexico, who are fighting a turf war over the profitable drug trade. He is so clueless that when the drug war actually lands on his door step, as when his teenage daughter, wonderfully portayed by Erika Christiansen, succumbs to peer pressure and becomes addicted to drugs, he is initially in heavy denial and ignores all the standard warning circles, until it is nearly too late

    Benicio Del Toro, in the star making role of Javier, an intelligent, decent, and honest Mexican law enforcement officer, who has his own war on drugs going on, is riveting with his quietly powerful performance . He, too, is being manipulated by the powers that be in Mexico. Nearly too late he realizes that the Mexican gweneral, who is ostensibly battling the war on drugs and to whom Javier had given his full support and cooperation, is engaged in some drug action on the side from which he hopes to profit. The only drug war that the general is really involved in is the one that one drug cartel has with its rival.

    Meanwhile, back in the states, a wealthy and respected San Diego business man, played by hunky Steven Bauer, is arrested, as it seems that his businesses are really just a front for the drug trade. His assets frozen, this leaves his beautiful and greedy wife, played by the lovely and talented Catherine Zeta-Jones, picking up the pieces of her husband's empire while he is in jail, awaiting trial. As regent to the kingdom, she cold boodedly negotiates with the drug cartel to restore her and her husband financially. No shrinking violet is she!

    There are several other subplots that are also of note and move the story along. All of these vignettes interlock with one another in some fashion, serving to bring the story full circle. To find out how they do so, watch this well directed and powerful film. It is certainly well worth watching and a welcome addition to one's personal film collection....more info
  • Dramatised, Sobering Look at Drug Traffic
    This very well-done film intertwines three separate stories depicting the impact of illegal drug business both on the people and the society as a whole. Michael Douglas stars as a newly-appointed US drug czar -- a presidential aide, who nevertheless loses the battle with drugs in its own family. Catherine Zeta-Jones is believably transformed from a pampered housewife of a drug mogul, who suddenly gets into custody pending a court trial, to a woman fighting on her own and for her kids. Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro shines as an uncorrupted Mexican near-border cop who loses any illusions about who's good and who's bad in this whole mess. "Traffic" works both as a thriller and documentary. It's fabulously acted, the screenplay is brisk and enthralling and the stamp of Academy-awarded director Steven Soderbergh makes sure that this is not a common Hollywood fodder. Of course, it would be naive to think that even a film like this will significantly elevate public awareness about the drug plague -- after all, it just barely hints at the huge scope this thriving traffic encompasses -- but at least it's something that makes the perceptive viewers think....more info
  • An excellent film
    Sure, the brits may have done a fine job on there show, but Traffic is one of the better films to come out since 2000. The film has a haunting quality that is starting to resonate more and more in today's society....more info
  • IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST...
    This is a raw and powerful movie on the drug trade and its corresponding law enforcement response. It is a series of riveting, interlocking vignettes that tell the story on all fronts of the war on drugs. It paints a picture that will stay with the viewer for some time, so powerful is the imagery employed and so compelling are the actors in their performances.

    Michael Douglas plays the part of Robert Wakefield, a newly appointed drug czar, who tries to mount an all points attack on the drug trade. Naive and well meaning, he is, unbeknownst to him, being manipulated by the powers that be in Mexico, who are fighting a turf war over the profitable drug trade. He is so clueless that when the drug war actually lands on his door step, as when his teenage daughter, wonderfully portrayed by Erika Christiansen, succumbs to peer pressure and becomes addicted to drugs, he is initially in heavy denial. He ignores all the standard warning signs, until it is nearly too late.

    Benicio Del Toro, in the star making role of Javier, an intelligent, decent, and honest Mexican law enforcement officer, who has his own war on drugs going on, is riveting with his quietly powerful performance. He, too, is being manipulated by the powers that be in Mexico. Nearly too late he realizes that the Mexican general, who is ostensibly battling the war on drugs and to whom Javier had given his full support and cooperation, is engaged in some drug action on the side from which he hopes to profit. The only drug war that the general is really involved in is the one that one drug cartel has with its rival.

    Meanwhile, back in the states, a wealthy and respected San Diego businessman, played by hunky Steven Bauer, is arrested, as it seems that his businesses are really just a front for the drug trade. His assets frozen, this leaves his beautiful and greedy wife, played by the lovely and talented Catherine Zeta-Jones, picking up the pieces of her husband's empire while he is in jail, awaiting trial. As regent to the kingdom, she cold bloodedly negotiates with the drug cartel to restore her and her husband financially. No shrinking violet is she!

    There are several other subplots that are also of note and move the story along. All of these vignettes interlock with one another in some fashion, serving to bring the story full circle. To find out how they do so, watch this well directed and powerful film. It is certainly well worth watching and a welcome addition to one's personal film collection. ...more info
  • Well Written, Well Argued...
    Well written, directed, and acted, Traffic makes the Case that we need to attack the demand side of the drug trade if we are going to win the war on drugs, b/c our current supply-side approach is futile....more info
  • poor adaption of excellent British product
    Compared to the British series of the same title this is a very bad rip off. The acting is of poor quality as well as the dialogue. I would not waste my dime on this, instead I would get the original....more info
  • Traffic, not your typical Half Baked
    this movie ruled. the shaky camera and grittyness is awesome. but instead of some review on how it is an academy award brilliant film of substance abuse,etc i will tell you how cool it is, even if those cool parts glorify drug dealers.
    i like the part where that girl is at the party and the kid topher grace from that 70s show is talking all philosophically cause hes so stoned. and the kid on the other couch is like 'im so high' and he passes out and they drop him off at the ER and the cop comes and he yells the F word. ya i cant say it cause of amazon.com policies. its also funny when he has to get that girl messed up in a seedy hotel downtown to get with her. and theyre like doing trashy drugs too, whats up with that? since when do private school seniors do heroin through their foot? man i thought it was all about coors light and weed. guess not.
    the movie starts out cool too when benicio del toro is in the mexican desert with his highway patrol giant sunglasses waiting for this plane to go over them thats traffiking cocaine. hes such a mexican badass. and his buddy cop next to him is playing game boy. thats the first noise you here in this 3 hour plus long drug war epic: mario jumping over a green tube. i love it.
    another great part is when don cheadle and that funny peurto rican guy luiz something shoot that drug dealer in a san diego chuck e. cheese place. and the clown gets scared and goes back into the kitchen.
    o ya when michael douglas takes topher grace out of spanish class and the teachers like where are you going and hes like im taking seth on a field trip and he takes him to the ghetto to find his prostitute heroin junkie 17 year old daughter.
    traffic is a great movie cause it has moments like this. stephen s. the director is a badass who makes movies like the limey and this and the writer is good too. hes like 21 and he got the oscar for best adapted screenplay. this movie rules for stoners, concerned parents and politicians alike....more info
  • Two consistent mistakes troughout the movie
    This is a movie with starpower and sustance, but it commits the same mistakes with consistency troughout the movie. If you can look beyond them, great, some of us can't.
    mistake 1: the only cast member that does not produce the spanish language with a thick american accent was Salma Hayek. Everyone else, From Del Toro to the little characters is a Culprit of mangling the language into an East L.A. version of it.
    mistake 2: All scenes in cars in the Mexico side have all the actors "buckled up" when in Mexico there is no bucke up law, In fact buckling up is considered for sissies by the macho military/policial culture.
    Thoper Grace's performance was a surprise, the kid did break out of his tv personna....more info
  • Cross the street and you might get hit
    Like Requiem For A Dream, only not nearly as just outright strange, this movie portrays, not tackles, the tough issue of drugs. The movie intertwines between most key stages of drug's existence: shipment, distribution, use, and political handlings. Not only does it cover almost the whole drug chain, but also it covers it both sides of the border. Benicio Del Toro steals the show as the independent Mexican anti-drug cop. With his street smarts, he tops all the others. That is including Catherine Zeta-Jones, who plays the maniacal mother trying to protect her son after discovering her husband has been leading a double life as a drug lord. In addition, there is Michael Douglas, who does a very good role as the soon to be Head of Drug Operations and father of a drug afflicted daughter. This movie presents the fact that "drugs" is a difficult issue that tears apart lives and even kills some. He does this without ever giving any comic reprieve, so this can be a very heavy movie. Watch a light comedy afterward, but definitely watch this well-done four-star film....more info
  • Great Movie.
    This movie is great, the lighting and story line seem to be thought out very well. The actors did a wonderful job, there happened to be quite a few stars in this movie. I had one problem though... How realistic is this movie? The shoot out seemed over-exaggerated. I've never seen a shoot out in San Diego before. The movie made it sound like drugs are all over the place here. They are probably right somewhat, but you don't notice it too much. What city doesn't have drug problems? This is nothing new. Otherwise, this movie is great. One of the points of the movie that I like is that drug use can effect anyone in any city at any time....more info
  • IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST...
    This is a raw and powerful movie on the drug trade and its corresponding law enforcement response. It is a series of riveting, interlocking vignettes that tell the story on all fronts of the war on drugs. It paints a picture that will stay with the viewer for some time, so powerful is the imagery employed and so compelling are the actors in their performances.

    Michael Douglas plays the part of Robert Wakefield, a newly appointed drug czar, who tries to mount an all points attack on the drug trade. Naive and well meaning, he is, unbeknownst to him, being manipulated by the powers that be in Mexico, who are fighting a turf war over the profitable drug trade. He is so clueless that when the drug war actually lands on his door step, as when his teenage daughter, wonderfully portrayed by Erika Christiansen, succumbs to peer pressure and becomes addicted to drugs, he is initially in heavy denial. He ignores all the standard warning signs, until it is nearly too late.

    Benicio Del Toro, in the star making role of Javier, an intelligent, decent, and honest Mexican law enforcement officer, who has his own war on drugs going on, is riveting with his quietly powerful performance. He, too, is being manipulated by the powers that be in Mexico. Nearly too late he realizes that the Mexican general, who is ostensibly battling the war on drugs and to whom Javier had given his full support and cooperation, is engaged in some drug action on the side from which he hopes to profit. The only drug war that the general is really involved in is the one that one drug cartel has with its rival.

    Meanwhile, back in the states, a wealthy and respected San Diego businessman, played by hunky Steven Bauer, is arrested, as it seems that his businesses are really just a front for the drug trade. His assets frozen, this leaves his beautiful and greedy wife, played by the lovely and talented Catherine Zeta-Jones, picking up the pieces of her husband's empire while he is in jail, awaiting trial. As regent to the kingdom, she cold bloodedly negotiates with the drug cartel to restore her and her husband financially. No shrinking violet is she!

    There are several other subplots that are also of note and move the story along. All of these vignettes interlock with one another in some fashion, serving to bring the story full circle. To find out how they do so, watch this well directed and powerful film. It is certainly well worth watching and a welcome addition to one's personal film collection.


    ...more info
  • Traffic
    I had went to theaters to see this movie. Mainly because the previews said it was a knockout, brilliant, and in every critics top 10 list. I was a little skeptical at first, but once it starts it pulls you in. From begining to end, this film lacks nothing. The film interweaves three stories three stories with one basic link --- drugs. There's two undercover cops (Luis Guzman and Don Cheadle) who bust a dope peddler (Miguel Ferrer) who rats out his supplier (Steven Bauer) --- whose pampered housewife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) learns of her husbands dirty business. Then there is a newly-appointed Drug Czar (Michael Douglas) who is fighting the drug trafficking very well, but is failing with his increasingly drug-addicted daughter (Erika Christensen). On the Mexican drug-side, we have a cop (Academy Award Winner Benecio Del Torro) trying to clean up the streets, but on the other hand trying to help a crooked General (Tomas Milian) that he doesn't know he's helping. This film is really the definitive drug-film. Unlike most, which either deals with addiction (Requiem For A Dream) or the trafficking side (Scarface), this film succeeds in both area's. Academy Award winning director Steven Soderberg knocks this one out of the ball-park. Like most GREAT directors, you can tell when a director is going to be great --- great acting comes from good directing. The cinematography is outstanding. The Mexico scenes have a rich, but gritty feel to them. The Washington scenes are very dim, very dull. The San Deigo scenes are rich in color and have almost a blinding feel to it. All masterfully done. Benecio Del Torro really stole the show, successfully grabbing his first Oscar. I'm sure it won't be the last. He's also up for 'Best Supporting Actor' for his powerful performance as a born-again Christian in the hit film "21 Grams" (also a great film). For a great film, filled with magnificent performances and brilliant camera-work and directing, don't miss out on "Traffic"....more info
  • The drug traffic as it really is and from all three perspectives
    This movie is intense, complex and firmly grounded in reality. The topic is the drug traffic between the United States and Mexico and it follows three interconnected yet somewhat distinct plotlines.
    One is set in suburban, affluent Ohio. Michael Douglas plays a judge who has just been nominated by the President of the United States to be the drug czar. Unknown to him, his sixteen-year-old daughter is a heavy user, regularly attending drug parties with her equally affluent friends. Although her mother knows that she is a user, she does not tell her husband, rationalizing it based on the fact that she also used drugs when she was young. As the Douglas character goes to Washington D. C. and walks the halls of power and then goes out into the field to learn more, the daughter's usage spirals out of control until she ends up prostituting herself.
    Another plotline is set in San Diego, California, the incoming transit point for drugs from Mexico. Two local police officers intercept a major shipment and capture the local boss. They manage to turn him and he identifies the local kingpin, a married man who is a pillar in the community.
    The third plotline involves two local police officers in Tijuana, Mexico and the drug cartel operating out of that city. The police officers are essentially honest, but begin working with a general of the Mexican army and are sucked into the violent morass that is the drug war between law enforcement and the cartels and also between the cartels themselves.
    The brutal honesty of this movie in presenting the drug trade as it is makes it almost at the level of a documentary. Some of the best brutally honest lines are uttered by a DEA agent, a drug trafficker and a young man who is a user. The DEA agent responds to a question about their budget by pointing out that the profits in the drug trade or so high that the DEA budget simply cannot compete on the monetary level. The drug trafficker talks about how they did a statistical regression analysis on the movement of vehicles through the border check and concluded that it was cost effective to simply send the vehicles through the border check. They could accept the occasional loss as a normal cost of doing business. When Michael Douglas is searching the black ghetto for his daughter, the drug-using friend of his daughter forcefully points out how the profits of the trade will always lead to greed winning out over the common good.
    Presenting the drug trade from the three sides of supplier, consumer and law enforcement, this movie deserves all the awards it received. It is dynamite on a disk.
    ...more info
  • IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST...
    This is a raw and powerful movie on the drug trade and its corresponding law enforcement response. It is a series of riveting, interlocking vignettes that tell the story on all fronts of the war on drugs. It paints a picture that will stay with the viewer for some time, so powerful is the imagery employed and so compelling are the actors in their performances.

    Michael Douglas plays the part of Robert Wakefield, a newly appointed drug czar, who tries to mount an all points attack on the drug trade. Naive and well meaning, he is, unbeknownst to him, being manipulated by the powers that be in Mexico, who are fighting a turf war over the profitable drug trade. He is so clueless that when the drug war actually lands on his door step, as when his teenage daughter, wonderfully portrayed by Erika Christiansen, succumbs to peer pressure and becomes addicted to drugs, he is initially in heavy denial. He ignores all the standard warning signs, until it is nearly too late.

    Benicio Del Toro, in the star making role of Javier, an intelligent, decent, and honest Mexican law enforcement officer, who has his own war on drugs going on, is riveting with his quietly powerful performance. He, too, is being manipulated by the powers that be in Mexico. Nearly too late he realizes that the Mexican general, who is ostensibly battling the war on drugs and to whom Javier had given his full support and cooperation, is engaged in some drug action on the side from which he hopes to profit. The only drug war that the general is really involved in is the one that one drug cartel has with its rival.

    Meanwhile, back in the states, a wealthy and respected San Diego businessman, played by hunky Steven Bauer, is arrested, as it seems that his businesses are really just a front for the drug trade. His assets frozen, this leaves his beautiful and greedy wife, played by the lovely and talented Catherine Zeta-Jones, picking up the pieces of her husband's empire while he is in jail, awaiting trial. As regent to the kingdom, she cold bloodedly negotiates with the drug cartel to restore her and her husband financially. No shrinking violet is she!

    There are several other subplots that are also of note and move the story along. All of these vignettes interlock with one another in some fashion, serving to bring the story full circle. To find out how they do so, watch this well directed and powerful film. It is certainly well worth watching and a welcome addition to one's personal film collection. ...more info
  • An argument for decriminalization?
    A little background first. Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari from 1988 to 1994 was sent in exile to the United States after he lost the election to Ernesto Zedillo in 1995; wherefrom, the FBI discovered an enormous recycling of drug traffic money that belonged to the ex-President. It was subsequently discovered that the one running this trade was the President's brother Raul. All this and more is lurking behind the film "Traffic", a mind-boggling intrigue of drugs, dirty money and politics. It is a very difficult cinematic job to combine these elements along with the social degradation, which results, especially in terms of the teen-ager population that is affected, without resorting to moralist and dogmatic messages. The results of "Traffic" are undeniably high and the film shows Soderbergh's talent in treating political subject matter. However, the reason I did not give this film the full five stars is because I prefer the British original film that sets the events in Pakistan. This film eerily discussed the issues surrounding the drug trade along the Pakistan - Afghanistan border and the difficulty that authorities of all stripes - the Taliban had actually been the most successful even if their methods were very crude - at reducing the cultivation of poppies. That being said, this film along with the book "Reefer Madness"' by Eric Schlosser will help you undertand the gravity of the drug problem as well as the infectiveness and injustice of the methods employed by governments to restrict the tarde and use of narcotics....more info
  • A masterpiece of cinematography.
    This film can easily be classed as one of the best films in past few years for style, script and stars.

    The look of the actual film is clearly defined through the use of different colours of scenes (e.g blue for Micheal Douglas's subplot and yellow for the Mexican scenes). This not only helps the film to set out the different stories but it also marks a diffenece to boring cinematography, which has become standard in Hollywood of late.

    The script is not only engaging and interesting but also provides a gritty realsim. The scene with the bratty, drug using teenagers about the problems with society reminded me so much of the conversations the "rich kids" at my university used to have.

    Finally the stars. They ALL do a fantastic job but most interesting is the performance by Catherine Zeta Jones. This film helped her gain a credability she so richly deserved. I love the fact that her and Micheal Douglas aren't in any scenes together.

    This film is a class act....more info

  • Not Much Movement
    Traffic is an average movie which does not inspire enough interest to get out of that pigeon hole. It deals with many stories and they are all related on some way, obviously the director was watching some foreign films, for this is nothing new. Most of the stories are preposterous, take for example the wife of a drug dealer, in a few weeks she is talking to dangerous drug leaders in Mexico as if she knew what she was doing. Also, the drug czar wandering around in the ghettos of Baltimore, these scenes do not add up and as a result the film is mostly a compendium of utter boredom that drags on.

    ...more info
  • Traffic is good.
    This is a great film, all comparisons to other projects aside. Luis Guzman is a god!!! Drugs are bad, mmkay? Don't do drugs, cause they're bad. ...more info
  • Riveting
    The movie version Traffic was released to a cavalcade of critical praise and also a large amount of controversy. While critics and other left of center scribes praised the move for its intense realism and its challenging political commentary, others saw it as a damaging assault on the national effort against the drug trade. The beauty of Traffic is that is can be seen as all of these things. It is a very challenging movie, forcing the viewer to examine their own views while being sucked into an extremely absorbing group of storylines that, more or less, meld into one by the end of the movie. The stories examine the war on drug from numerous viewpoints, which aid the viewer into realizing the scope and diversity of the war and its combatants. While I do not feel Traffic is a masterpiece by any means, I do feel it is a very poignant movie and is extremely well crafted by director Steven Soderbergh.

    In Traffic, we see the world of drugs from various angles. Near the top of the chain is Michael Douglass' character, who plays a federal judge about to be nominated for the nations drug czar. He quickly realizes that the job poses an almost unimaginable amount of challenges, challenges he doubts he is ready to take on. At the same time, his daughter is experimenting with substances, as many American teenagers, especially those with money, are want to do. As Douglass struggles to find a solution to his countries addiction, he manages to ignore his own daughters abuse. On opposite sides of the war is the story of Catherine Zeta Jones, a pampered wife of a vastly powerful drug dealer. Her world comes apart when her husband is arrested by the DEA. She is forced to come to terms with her spouses own source of income, and then understand how the power he wields can be used in his own defense. Down the totem pole are the actual soldiers in the war. The two DEA agents who put the cuffs on Jones' husband are played smartly by Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman. They are extremely dedicated agents, but doubt begins to creep into their own minds as they are faced with an ever rising amount of drugs and arrests. The bond between them is a joy to watch though, and they pose a very interesting contradiction to the discerning viewer. On the other side of the border is the remarkable story of Javier Rodriguez, played brilliantly by Benicio Del Toro. Rodriguez is a Tijuana police officer who has managed to stay clean. However, his life is changed forever when he becomes embroiled with powerful drug kingpins and corrupt government officials, including the notorious General Salazar. Watching Del Toro attempt to survive and keep his virtue is really a treat to see.

    Traffic is such an attractive movie because of its powerful reality, be it genuine or imposed. The cinematography, the settings, the angles and lighting, all create a sense of both impending doom and dour real world view. The Mexican sun speaks of hazy political shades and distant violence, while the inky blue tints of official Washington point to a world of official gleam but subterranean rust. The storylines are very well crafted and are synergistic to such an enjoyable degree. Their origins and their conclusions are fluid and tight, never meandering or losing theme. Performances are impressive all around, with standout Del Toro really taking the lead. Traffic does have a heavy political message, but it also shows that drugs and their consumption alone lead to horrible evil, resisting the urge to blame all the negatives of the drug trade on those that fight it. It's a good movie that can be enjoyed and marveled by those of really any political bent....more info