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Traffic
Traffic
Actors: Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jacob Vargas, Andrew Chavez
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2001     2hr 27min

Featuring a huge cast of characters, the ambitious and breathtakingTraffic 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 cz...  more »
     
     

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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jacob Vargas, Andrew Chavez
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Creators: Andreas Klein, Cameron Jones, Edward Zwick, Graham King, Laura Bickford, Simon Moore, Stephen Gaghan
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Family Life, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Polygram USA Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/29/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/2000
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2000
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 2hr 27min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 78
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Chuck B. (ChuckB4Me) from WENTZVILLE, MO
Reviewed on 11/20/2014...
Nice from the point of view where we are shown all the different people in all the different stages of an illegal transaction. However it did seem to drag on a little bit too much.

Movie Reviews

Powerful Drama, Important Film
Reviewer | 02/25/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"To say that this is a film with a message would be an understatement, because it comes across so emphatically clear and succinct, and it is this: To wage a war against drugs, you must first come to terms with the sobering fact that the enemy is often a member of your own family; and how do you wage a war against your own family? A sobering message? Insightful? Indeed. And, when you consider the implications of it all, devastating. Ponder that awhile and you'll begin to get a sense of the futility visited upon those who would attempt to rectify a situation that affects practically everyone everywhere sooner or later, either directly or indirectly; and it is just that situation that is addressed and presented with no-holds-barred by director Steven Soderbergh in his brilliant, hard hitting film, "Traffic," starring Michael Douglas and Benicio Del Toro. The film examines the trafficking of drugs between Mexico and the United States, and the long-ranging effects thereof; and Soderbergh tells the story through a number of perspectives, which effectively presents the "big picture" of the drug trade and the subsequent impact it all has on the lives of so many people. Probably the most telling perspective in terms of futility is that which is shown through the eyes of Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas), a judge who is appointed the country's "Drug Czar," and given the task of "making a difference." It's a pivotal character inasmuch as it is through his involvement that so much information is presented, not all of which is anything new, but when taken within the context of the story has a tremendous emotional impact. Through Wakefield, not only is the unbelievably far-reaching problem of illegal drugs illuminated, but the attitudes of all of those it touches on all levels, from the heads of the Mexican cartels to the kids who use and abuse the product made so readily available to them by the drug lords. A man of principle and high ideals, Wakefield begins by educating and familiarizing himself with all facets of the drug trade. He quickly learns that although he is far from naive in terms of the reality of what he is dealing with, he actually has no concept of the depth and scope of it, like how much better equipped and financed the cartels are than the U.S. Government, for instance. Another troubling aspect of the story involving Wakefield is the lack of respect accorded him by the young people with whom he comes into contact, not only in his official position, but simply as a human being-- especially by his own sixteen-year-old daughter and her "friends." Unfortunately, it realistically reflects an attitude prevalent within a wide faction of our society today; and it's one of the strengths of the film that it can so succinctly capture something so distressing, something that should be of monumental concern to everyone, for it's an integral part of a larger something that touches us all. Also realistically portrayed is Wakefield's reaction to all of this; the helplessness born of the limited ways of combating what he encounters is extremely well realized and conveyed by the film, and it enhances even more that already overpowering sense of futility. From the Mexican side of the border, the story unfolds through the perspective of Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro), a veteran of the Mexican Highway Patrol; and it's from his side of the fence that we begin to understand the ramifications of the politics, money and power, and ruthlessness that so empowers the cartels. In these segments, the dialogue is in Spanish (with English subtitles), and Soderbergh uses a tint to the film that lends a visual sense of detachment to the action; it's almost like watching an old newsreel, which gives it an air of authenticity that works because it's incorporated with the emotional substance that ultimately provides the real impact. The superlative cast Soderbergh assembled for this film includes Don Cheadle, Luis Guzman, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Steven Bauer, Jacob Vargas, Erika Christensen, Miguel Ferrer, Amy Irving, Tomas Milian and James Brolin. An important film of gut-wrenching implications and staggering emotional proportions, "Traffic" evokes a sense of futility and loss (especially in the final scenes) that is, at times, overwhelming. It makes you realize just how huge the drug trafficking trade is, and how any efforts to eliminate or even contain it simply pale in the light of it's enormity. It's like a terminal cancer, spreading and eating away at the fabric of our society; a disease that reduces the value of human life to the barest minimum. It's a movie that will affect everyone on a different level emotionally, depending somewhat upon personal experience and frame of reference, but there is no doubt that this is a film that will create a lasting impression on anyone who sees it; but be prepared, for this is powerful drama that elicits a sense of hopelessness which-- I'm sure for many-- may hit just a bit too close to home for comfort."
A Movie that Tops the Rest
Victor Drysel | TX | 01/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Traffic gives us a very disturbing yet equally true story about what happens to real people in the fight for war on drugs. Traffic tells three stories. About two DEA agents, Don Chealde and Luis Guzman, that are out to stop the "Big Rich Guys" at the to of the food chain. Two Mexican Police Officers that happen upon a large shipment of illegal drugs, Benicio Del Torro. And a newly appointed government official, Michael Douglas, that is there to clean up what his predecessor couldn't do. WIth that said, we are left to director Steven Soderbergh. With his brilliant usage of color and contrast. And his equally astounding talent of editing and shooting this home videoesque film. I was dumbfounded by the sheer tenactiy of the story. So gritty and captivating. It really tells people what they don't want to hear. With such a fabulous cast as this: Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Torro (who should recieve an oscar nomination), Don Chealde, Catherine Zeta Jones, Dennis Quaid, Selma Hyaek, Benjamin Bratt, and Luis Guzman, you can't make a bad movie. So, take my advice and watch this film. It's really that good."
Moving "Traffic"
Edward | San Francisco | 04/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"2000 was a good year for director Steven Soderbergh. First was the entertaining "Erin Brockovich", then the tense, complicated, well-acted "Traffic", which was probably the best movie of last year and which won Soderbergh the Oscar for Best Director. The plot is constructed of five interlinking sets of people: a newly appointed American drug czar and his family, the Mexican drug cartel, two Tiajuana plainclothes men, a couple of U.S. wiretap specialists, and a wealthy San Diego family whose fortune is a little less than legitimate. Michael Douglas is the star, playing the drug czar who discovers that his teenage daughter (Erika Christensen) has been inhaling free base and is hooked. Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman are nicely paired as the eavesdroppers, and Steven Bauer and Catherine Zeta-Jones play the San Diego couple whose lives collapse when an informer names the husband as a leading importer=exporter of illegal drugs. Dennis Quaid,who gets over-the-title billing, is convincing in a small, unsympathetic role as their opportunistic lawyer. Ms Zeta-Jones' character is the most controversial, morphing from suburban mom to Lady Macbeth right before our eyes. But, of course, most of the attention has been focused on Benicio Del Toro as Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez, the Mexican cop whose loyalties are constantly being challenged. He deservedly won the Oscar, though in the wrong category. Because his character both opens and ends the story, and because he has (I think) more screen time than Douglas, he should have been nominated for Best Actor. Some of the movie's plot elements, particularly in the second half, don't work. The informer is obviously poisoned by a breakfast that is brought to him while his police escort is in the room. Why would they allow a stranger to serve food to a heavily-protected state witness? (The informer is played by Miguel Ferrer, the son of Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney.) Also, I didn't believe the drug czar's aborted acceptance speech for a minute, and his daughter's return from the dead was too pat and painless. But the quiet conclusion, with Javier watching a baseball game, was effective, proving that Stephen Gaghan's screenplay (another Oscar) didn't need a bang-up ending to complete a forceful story."