"Drug enforcement is an entrepreneurial occupation."
Review by Ross Anthony

What a script! Sincere, detailed, gritty dialogue runs its street-real mouth all over this richly woven story.

"Traffic" attacks the "The War Against Drugs" from multiple angles: The Mexican beat cop, the S. Californian detective, the higher level Mexican drug lord, the American drug lord's wife, the newly appointed commissioner on drug control in the States and his coke-snorting daughter.

All perform marvelously.

Filmed in an "off the tripod" documentary style, the look and feel of the film reminds me of "Three Kings." A burnt-out orange filter is used during the many south of the border sequences. It's an effective tool to "heat up" the tension of these scenes as well as assist the viewer to distinguish locales. Though tension building, the shakey camera bit grows a tad tiresome.

I particularly enjoyed the intelligent, even classy, snitch; the repartee between US Detectives; the sweet ending shot; the Mexican cop - sort of a cross between a Latin Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe; and of course the masterful interweaving of many tasty subplots.

Unfortunately one flaw, which in another film might be glossed over, in this otherwise intelligent production stands out like a footprint in a perfectly spread concrete patio. Sadly, that one breakfast scene spoiled my appetite for this meticulously prepared meal.

  • Traffic. Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Don Cheadle, Luis Guzman, Catheine Zeta Jones, Dennis Quaid, Steven Bauer, Erika Christensen, Topher Grace, Jacob Bargas, James Brolin, Albert Finney.
  • Directed by Steven Soderbergh.
  • Screenplay by Steve Gaghan (adapted from U.K. miniseries "Traffik")
  • Produced by Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz and Laura Bickford at Gramercy/Initial/Bedford Falls.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:51:58 PDT