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- A Tale of Futility.
I must commend Steven Soderbergh for making Traffic as it depicts the drug war in all of its truly gray dimensions. No where is this more true than when drug Czar, Michael Douglas, calls for some original "out of the box" ideas on his government plane and none of his staff can offer up a thing. It really was a very ambitious project and I believe that the director pulled it off admirably. The movie is quite stylish and it was a pleasure to watch.
Everything involving Mexico was absolutely fascinating. I thought the shots of Mexico City and Tijuana were highly authentic. Frankly, I think that Benicio Del Toro is far and away the best part of the movie. His character outshines everyone else although Don Cheadle had an inspired performance. The intrigue between the cartels was the best part.
Sadly, there was considerable racism in the film which is to be expected from Hollywood nowadays. The Hispanic and black cops are shown saying they want to catch the big guys, "the white guys," even though both of the big shots in the movie are "Hispanic guys." No matter, they'll blame the white man. Then, through the speech of a drug addicted spoiled private school kid, we find out that whites are to blame for blacks selling drugs. One wonders who is to blame for whites selling drugs then. It is the familiar, and mindless, politically correct view that whites are the cause of all evil, whereas, non-whites are always innocent victims. By proffering this the filmmaker, just as the case is with every trendy PC acolyte, reveals his own racism, as he condescends to minorities instead of treating them as real people. The racist element lowered my overall rating but the movie was still worthwhile. ...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 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
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
- Couldn't get any better
Traffic definitely showed the world what goes on behind the closed doors in drug traffiking and how people handle it on both sides of the borders. From one side, It's hard to win the war on drugs when you're the drug czar (Michael Douglas) and your loved ones (Erika Christensen) are doing what you're strongly against. From another side, you want to protect your family (Catherine Zeta-Jones) but you can't help but know that all your wealth and lifestyles for you and your family are coming from something illegal; something that you know your husband (Steven Bauer) is doing but you refuse to believe it. As for the other side of the border, what can you do when you're an honest mexican cop (Benicio Del Toro who was just amazing) who's caught between doing the right thing and doing the right thing for the wrong people.
Traffic really opened my eyes from how people operate when it comes to drugs. It shows how we deal with stopping it, abusing it, selling it, and eventually how it comes to our countries. All 3 stories don't make sense with each other but seem to come together in the middle while drifting apart towards the end of the film. Sure it's long (146 minutes) but how are you gonna fit all the details in the movie in just under 100 minutes? Great film and the best job Steven Soderbergh has ever done in his career....more info
- Valuable Film
Character, decision-making, love, honor, deceit, trust....all are put into question in Traffic, a powerful and moving film.....to go along with the many beautiful and honest teachings of this movie, the structure of the film is captivating as well, with inter-related stories being told simultaneously....the performances are strong, the directing and storyline even stronger...traffic is an honorable mention in my book...it is worth seeing...more info
- SNOREFEST 2001 ZZZZZzzzzzzzz..........
If this bomb doesn't put you
to sleep, you're already dead!
With out a doubt, one of the
most boring movies ever made!...more info
- Edgy and well acted, plus a moral lesson
There's tons of reviews of this movie, so I'll just give a short impression. I watched it again recently, thus the review.
The war on drugs is ill thought out and will never work. This film is art that makes that point.
I'd say this movie should be watched and digressed by politios and pundits and really mulled over. How many innocent lives need to be destroyed before we realize that peoples behavior cannot be changed by legislation?
I don't know all the answers, but this movie provides some food for thought.
Legalize it? Maybe it's not a pancea, but, I, with my libertarian bent, seem to think it'd be a better way to deal with the problem, and I think this film, if really thought about, supports my view, at least from the aspect of the fact that the film could be totally nonfiction.
Anyway, I recommend the movie if you haven't seen it yet, and if it's been awhile, it might be worth it again if you wondering about how we might change our drug laws to better society.
- Buy the DVD Version Instead
I liked this movie. The cast was pretty good and the acting and story were also strong.
The HD DVD sucks royally. The video quality is like a regular DVD. I saw this using an HDMI connection on a 1080 HDTV on which other HD DVDs have looked much better. High definition discs are still new and I expect it will take some time to improve the technology, but this movie is an exact replica of the DVD version.
I bought this at Best Buy, on sale for almost the same price of the regular DVD. And it is definitely worth less than the regular DVD because I could at least watch a DVD on my blu-ray player when they become somewhat affordable in the distant future. This is why I like combo formats better than regular HD DVDs....more info
- The chick in this movie is hot.
But has anyone noticed she has put on a lot of weight lately, if look at her pictures on IMDB she looks porked out unfortunately.
Anyway, this movie is good but unrealistic. I've been to Cincinnati. IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE THE 1970s SOUTH BRONX PEOPLE. Jeez. Why are movie slums so unrealistic? Haven't movie makers heard of a little thing called URBAN RENEWAL that has cleaned up the slums since the early 1990s? Anyway, there is no neighborhood in Cincinnati that looks ANYWHERE near as bad as they show in the movie. You notice they do that a lot in cop shows too, they show neighborhoods that looked like war zones that haven't existed since 1992. Get with the times already people....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
- "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
- Gripping. Powerful. Complex.
Soderbergh makes films that respect my intelligence, my attention span, and my appreciation for small details. From the achronic pacing of "The Limey," to the nice, subtle use of colors in "Out of Sight," to... well, I can't say much nice about "Erin" -- 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Ahem. Anyway, each film is a treat. This one borders on overload. Believable characters. Good guys who miss. Bad guys who don't stand at the corner and say "I, Irving Schvarnowitz, Master of Evil, am here to rob you. Muhahahah!" but rather have the same goals we do (or might): Pay the lease on the Benz. Keep junior in private school. Pay the bills. Kill the rat. Well, 3 out of 4. Also, nice, subtle plot movements rather than those that beat you over the head. I must admit when the credits rolled, I said "What the heck? Oh wait... ahh... Nice." And the copter shot over Zocalo... how the heck did he get permission for that?
Thanks, Stephen. "Traffic" has planted you firmly atop the director mountain. I have no idea how you're gonna top this one....more info
- Should be re-released with cut scenes re-inserted.
The bloody war on drugs counted over five-thousand dead in Mexico this year. Do Americans think about that when they "need" their weed, heroin, coke or meth? As someone raised in a border city trying to get by on very little money I'm constantly on alert for who I need to avoid. And disgusted by Americans cavalier attitude towards their nasty habits and the fact that it's getting people killed.
That said, I'd like to recommend a book by a long time law enforcement officer that actually makes sense:
Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing (Hardcover)
by Norm Stamper Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing
(38 customer reviews)
- 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
- DYNAMITE PERFORMANCES ! ! ! ! !
Truly one of the best films I've ever seen. Great performances and stories. Very intriging and suspenseful. Great actors such as MICHAEL DOUGLAS, CATHERINE ZETA JONES and DON CHEADLE. One of the best stories in the movie was with the teenager and his friend who later has O.D. Very intense and sad. If you like those kind of movies in which there are a lot of intense thematic problems and different stories, then this one is for you. I suggest you see this one immediatly....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.
This a really bad rip off of the BBC mini series. Don't waste your money on this. Buy the BBC series instead and see some good acting and a plot that sticks together....more info
- Must-see film about the drug world
This fascinating, all-star look at the world of illegal drugs loosely weaves several stories together, showing drug dealers, buyers, and those who work to stop the drugs. Michael Douglas plays the new American drug czar who discovers, too late, that his own daughter is an addict. Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro is a Mexican double agent who is caught up in the cruel drug trade in Tijuana. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a society matron who finds out her husband's fortune comes from selling drugs. And Don Cheadle is an undercover DEA agent who is trying to stop the flow of drugs from Mexico to the US. All of the actors are wonderful.
I didn't expect to like this movie, but I did. The script emphasizes character development and I really got caught up in the stories. Each vignette is compelling and memorable, and the script wisely leaves each story unresolved. "Traffic" won four Academy Awards, including Best Director for Steven Soderbergh. This is a serious, thought-provoking film.
- Addictive traffic
The insidious nature of drugs and the efforts -sometimes useless to stop their use- are revealingly exposed through the anxious lens of director Steven Soderbergh in his work, Traffic.
In a mosaic of intertwined histories, Soderbergh again speaks about a controversial subject of deep common interest, one that affects all the social layers and triggers ominous conflicts and tragedies.
Two Mexican policemen, Javier Rodriguez and Manolo Sanchez, working in the border with the United States to stop drug traffic, will be caught in a corruption network. In the United States, Judge Robert Wakefield is named the new Czar Antidrug of the country, and while he looks for allies at the Mexican government to fight the war against drugs in both countries, he and his wife sinks in a personal battle against the increasing addiction of their adolescent daughter. At the same time, in San Diego, DEA special agents Montel Gordon and Ray Castro work in a case to eliminate one of the most powerful Mexicans cartel, and when they catch Carlos Ayala, key contact, his wife Helena will be dragged to the squalid world of her husband in order to save both hers and her son's life. Histories of the innocents, the guilty, the manipulators and the victims connect all in Traffic, an excellent cinematographic piece that stands out for being a vehicle for entertainment that sends out an important message.
An absolute triumph of direction, screenwriting and performances, Steven Soderbergh's film is a powerful "docudrama" that challenges our intelligence, impresses us and it affects us. The cast is sublime and everyone without exception offers a memorable interpretation. Each actor inhabits their space without nothing or nobody robbing their momentum.
Stephen Gaghan's script slowly involve us in histories of common people, until we entered in the different worlds where their lives take place, from the vast and hard Mexican desert, passing by the most luxurious offices of Washington, to the suburbs where the drugs abound, waiting for their next victim.
Soderbergh, a director capable of wonders, again improves himself giving the film a different look, using colors to represent diverse atmospheres and histories and using the camera-in-hand technique to intensify the realism of the scenes.
Generally, the world of drugs is displayed in movies to reflect the self-destruction of the people who use them. In Traffic, is not about an affected person, the whole society is the victim, addicted in one way or other to this terrible affliction. Many people are in the incessant search of answers to end this situation. Answers that, -judging by Soderbergh and Gaghan's expositions of -, have never had effective solutions. The movie is not about criticisms, nor does try to propose ideas, is simply trying to show a reality where nobody will get away clean.
- Drugs, Cincinnati- Who Can Ask for More?
*Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 starts playing in the background.*
Ah yes. Today's journey takes us to the heart of America's Midwest to the manicured suburbs of Cincinnati. Urban sprawl. Rolling Hills. White, private school kids free basing in daddy's living room. This is the American Dream.
Traffic confronts dealing, selling, using and the "war on drugs" through three intermingled plot lines in this documentary-style film that take viewers from D.C. to Cincinnati to California to Mexico.
More well known actors grade the screen during this movie than is reallynecessary, but somehow director Steven Soderbergh manages to pull it off.People like Salma Hayek have bit roles and few lines. Other big names, likeBenjamin Bratt, don't make into the story line until the last fourthof the movie. But the main stars of the movie are Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones (looking *gasp* very pregnant for her role as a pregnant wife of a drug trafficker), TopherGrace (Eric Forman from That 70s Show with a good haircut finally) and ErikaChristensen (Leave it Beaver, the movie?).
The greatest part of this movie is its focus on Cincinnati Country Day high school in Cincinnati. For those of you have seen the move, you might be thinking, "What focus? They only mentioned the name of the school once." Well, let me fill you in.
Douglas' character and his family live in Indian Hills in Cincinnati (although the house they use is actually from Hyde Park). Indian Hills is where some schmo who raised like a bajillion dollars for President Double-yuh lives, as well as Marge Schott. Anyway, Douglas' daughter goes to Cincinnati Country Day, which is a REAL school. SO, when little, rich, white kids are doing drugs in the film, it's not reflecting well on Cincinnati Country Day with its $14,000 a year tuition.
This appeals greatly to my still-experiencing-horrors-as-a-result-of-all-girls-catholic-high-school-hell self.
So this movie is great. It really is and everyone should see it. And after you do, e-mail me. I have a question I want to ask you what you thought of this one scene I found very troublesome. (A little commentary just thrown in while Douglas and Grace go driving through Over the Rhine. ...more info
- Great Stars/Great Script = Great Movie
This movie should make the top ten all time if for no other reason that it contained a number of great actors who no doubt were weighing in on this subject. The script was very well written and led the viewer from one story to the next connecting them with precision. A really great movie about what no doubt still goes on today....more info