More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
3.97

Awesome50.23%
Worth A Look: 20.19%
Average: 12.21%
Pretty Bad: 10.8%
Total Crap: 6.57%

13 reviews, 135 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets by Rob Gonsalves

Roman J. Israel, Esq. by Peter Sobczynski

Coco (2017) by Peter Sobczynski

Prey (2017) by Jay Seaver

Lu Over the Wall by Jay Seaver

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by alejandroariera

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri by Peter Sobczynski

Justice League by Peter Sobczynski

Mumon: The Land of Stealth by Jay Seaver

Geek Girls by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Traffic
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Stephen Groenewegen

"Arresting"
5 stars

Traffic is a tight-knit ensemble piece about the "drug war" between America and Mexico. Director Steven Soderbergh achieves the unthinkable - an intelligent, political film that clocks in well below three hours.

Soderbergh, who was also cinematographer (under the pseudonym "Peter Andrews"), uses colour to differentiate Traffic's key locations. In a parched, glary Mexico, honest cop Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) finds himself courted by one of the two warring drug cartels. On the Californian side of the border (shot in a golden yellow), two undercover American agents (Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman) arrest Carlos Ayala. Helena, his pregnant wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), knew nothing of his drug trafficking. Conservative judge Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) is the American President's newly-elected "drug czar", when he learns his teenage daughter (Erika Christensen) is an addict. The scenes in Washington and Ohio (where Wakefield's family live) are photographed in a cool, steely blue.

Traffic is about the unexpected intrusion of the drug trade on the very different lives of Rodriguez, Wakefield and Helena Ayala, and their contrasting reactions. Stephen Gaghan's screenplay is an adaptation of a British miniseries. It's absorbing and intelligent; a soap opera with a detailed political backdrop (featuring real American Senators debating aspects of the drug issue). Gaghan's ending - the main stories culminate in a series of melodramatic flourishes - feels a little rushed. But the final scenes - one involving Wakefield, the other Rodriguez - are surprisingly moving, and a testament to the film's success at establishing characters.

Michael Douglas is frequently cast as a male power figure, but he brings a freshness to this role (as he did in Wonder Boys). Benicio Del Toro is intensely likeable here - he combines humility and thoughtfulness with quiet authority (an absolute contrast to the brash and foolish Mexican police stereotype). There are over one hundred speaking parts in the film, and not a bum note in the rest of the cast.

Stephen Mirrione's editing is masterful. The separate stories intersect unexpectedly - Wakefield flies from Washington to California; Ayala and Rodriguez make parallel trips from California to Mexico. Occasionally, characters we're familiar with pass each other on the street without meeting. The colour-coded cinematography proves to be a simple, but effective, device and allows Soderbergh to drop the initially ubiquitous location captions.

Soderbergh used hand-held cameras for intimacy and immediacy, and Traffic feels like it was shot on the run (appropriately when following characters making or breaking the law). His directorial achievement is keeping such a large production under control (credit also to the producers for making an ambitious film about a potentially audience unfriendly topic).

By immersing us in the American "drug war", Soderbergh and Gaghan don't have to bludgeon us with their opinion; they show us clearly that there are no easy solutions, and no winners.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4722&reviewer=104
originally posted: 05/24/01 17:02:43
[printer] printer-friendly format  
TV to Screen: For more in the TV to Screen series, click here.

User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell a sharp look at the drug scene told from different points of view 4 stars
6/22/14 Richard Brandt Among Benicio Del Toro's many virtues : He nailed the Mexican accent, which wasn't his own 4 stars
2/21/13 PAUL SHORTT THOUGHT-PROVOKING, BRILLIANTLY MADE, INTELLIGENT THRILLER WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
12/28/09 Dane Youssef The best film of 2000. And the best about the ripple effect of drugs ever made. 5 stars
8/26/09 yukers This movie was LAME and way too LONG!!! 1 stars
9/21/08 Samantha Pruitt amazing movie, totally intense! 5 stars
8/21/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 5 stars
11/26/06 David Pollastrini really confusing if you don't pay attention 5 stars
6/26/06 MP Bartley Some annoying acting and occasional preachy tone hamper this fine thriller. 4 stars
12/12/05 sweetgrrl1972 By the end you don't care about any of the characters especially the poor rich kids. 1 stars
11/03/05 R.W.Welch Innovative cinematography and standout perf by Del Torro. 4 stars
10/10/05 Agent Sands A brilliantly shot and edited epic. Also really entertaining. I heart Soderbergh. 5 stars
9/09/05 Indrid Cold A textbook example of how to address a complex subject with intelligence and style. 5 stars
6/01/05 jcjs fine stuff 5 stars
2/25/05 Gray I now jackass crack lovers who love this film 1 stars
1/02/05 Daveman A fantastic thriller, entertaining, affecting and compulsively rewatchable. 5 stars
9/26/04 Bucky Buckner Boone Benicio aside, this is too long, too unbelievable and too much CZJ overacting 3 stars
9/24/04 Naka Absolutely stunning from beginning to end. A true modern classic worthy of highest praise. 5 stars
5/03/04 Gobsmack A devastating, shudder-inducing rush. Worthy of the highest praise. B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T. 5 stars
4/17/04 ALBERT H. TAYLOR JR. I was engrossed in the movie from start to finish. 5 stars
4/15/04 gordon purcell Soderberg uses several filmstocks and looks to the themes, yet it's clear to follow! Smart! 5 stars
4/15/04 rojo Easy to get involved in this one, great acting. 5 stars
4/06/04 Agent Sands Powerful, realistic, & enjoyable with awesome cast, direction, camerawork, music, & script. 5 stars
6/16/03 rory excellent film.... well done 5 stars
3/05/03 Dr. Bitterpants Liked it 1st viewing, bitter taste 2nd. HATE cliche of poisoned room service - how Dragnet! 3 stars
2/05/03 spacecowboy man it painted a bleak picture for the future of the "war on drugs" 5 stars
11/15/02 Chiendog Amateurish tripe with more plot holes than a slice of swiss cheese. 1 stars
7/31/02 I Can't Swim Worth it only for Benicio, who gave the movie what little soul it had. Hey KMG, show me how 4 stars
7/05/02 KMG THIS MOVIE ROCKS HELL! If you disagree go fuck yourself! 5 stars
4/08/02 stoolie-bird just one of the most important films ever made 5 stars
4/04/02 Edfink Lombardo The most overrated film of the '90s...Some good acting aside, this film is a waste 2 stars
3/05/02 Jennifer Birkhead Michael Douglas best player by far; too bad his bride thinks her shit don't stink! 3 stars
3/05/02 Marcia Lartz I didn't even notice Benicio del Toro. Academy is off its rocker! 3 stars
3/02/02 Alan Smithee Only the mexican sub-plot is worth watching. Everything else is crap. 2 stars
2/22/02 Jeff boring as all hell 2 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Depressing. Some prime acting. 3 stars
2/20/02 srm realistic???? white suburban kids always buy drugs at inner city crack houses. yeah right 4 stars
1/22/02 Spyguy2 Del Toro kicked ass as the Mexican cop...very good, but I heard the original is better 4 stars
1/12/02 hd the worst movie i ever saw i didnt understand 1 stars
11/03/01 Andrew Carden A Very Good Movie With Great Sub Plots and Acting. 5 stars
10/04/01 Phoenix Del Toro is a weird looking guy, but he sure is a great actor. Excellent movie. 5 stars
8/19/01 LawHog24 The Mexico part (and DelToro) kicks all ass...the US part is a bad USA Networks flick. 3 stars
8/16/01 Dakamus I paid seven dollars to take a two hour nap in my local theater!?! Suck-ass movie! 1 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk Soderbergh helms this jumpy tale with a mastery foer the craft. Great film. 5 stars
8/02/01 G-Man Perfect. Very thought provoking. 5 stars
7/29/01 Jennifer Gaissert Del Toro was great, but the editing made me dizzy 4 stars
7/28/01 Steve Definitely overhyped/overrated. Not very exciting. Great documentary though. 4 stars
7/28/01 Adam I thought it was a little dull, seems like a mix of very deep and very shallow messages. 4 stars
7/21/01 Phil M. Afficianado The accolates are well deserved. 5 stars
7/20/01 skye over-rated. good flick. been done. 4 stars
7/18/01 svetlana a good message...but damn does it drag on and on 4 stars
7/03/01 TLsmooth Benicio saves this neverending shit-burger 3 stars
7/02/01 Jed overblown, overhyped Miami Vice crime saga. Soderbergh is a hack. 1 stars
6/30/01 Pop will eat itself loved it. although topher grace was fucking annoying. I kept waiting for M.D. to smack him 5 stars
6/22/01 Jim Renwick Over-rated 3 stars
6/20/01 Jake Del Toro only bright spot in this pretentious epic. Soder 1 stars
6/18/01 The Bomb 69 powerful is the best word to describe it 5 stars
6/06/01 Muad'Dib Probably should have taken Best Picture 5 stars
6/05/01 Monday Morning I was mildly disappointed that Catherine didn't take her shirt off. Movie was just average. 3 stars
6/02/01 greensweater Douglas & Zeta are lame. Eric Foreman steals the show. 2 stars
5/25/01 Jason Disappointing, overated coming out Blow beats it by far 3 stars
5/13/01 IM Great, great film....better than the boredom of the 5 hour miniseries 5 stars
4/25/01 Greg No, the comments came from people with pulses 1 stars
4/23/01 Skip Young The 3 comments below are out of touch with reality. 5 stars
4/22/01 Luke Me and my friend chucked fizzo lollies at people the whole time, oh it was very humerous :) 1 stars
4/19/01 Greg Very predictable, just like any other drug movie except no excitement. 1 stars
4/14/01 Bill B Simply the worst. 3 people were asleep in my row alone. 1 stars
4/13/01 Piz Del Toro & company are dizzying and compelling..it gets flat at times tho 4 stars
4/05/01 Hawkeye Gritty, realistic and anything but a "feel good" movie. Go see it! 5 stars
3/28/01 Matthew Bartley Deserved every one of its awards 5 stars
3/26/01 neil bartlett I sat riveted. A job well done. Del Toro deserves his Oscar 5 stars
3/26/01 zeitgeist oh, the futility 5 stars
3/24/01 Alex Benicio del Toro was amazing 5 stars
3/23/01 JB No great but good. Great cast. Cool arrangement of scenes. 3 stars
3/21/01 bjshrink Disappointing. Hedged its bets, then ended up with a sentimental, Hollywood ending. 3 stars
3/17/01 JB How come all the baddies are Mexican or black? How come there are no corrupt US police? 3 stars
3/12/01 viking A film we should all see 5 stars
3/07/01 Mike This guy made Erin Brokavich? 5 stars
3/04/01 Rael One of the most skillfully acted and directed films of recent years. 5 stars
3/04/01 Gini We're losing the drug war; that's a fucking revelation?! 1 stars
3/04/01 Suzz good but predictable 4 stars
3/02/01 manual_overide Loved it!! I live like 10 seconds from where they filmed the drug scenes in Cincinnati!!! 5 stars
2/22/01 Fredy Not realistic enough. Where were the hollywood producers sniffing coke... hmmm? 2 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Agreed, one of 2000s best 5 stars
2/20/01 W. Sharif One of the best films of 2000 5 stars
2/18/01 Ken VERY long but VERY good as well. Watch it if you want something to think about. 5 stars
2/14/01 Artist Freak Complex, incisive film about a Gordian knot of an ignored problem. 5 stars
2/13/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Aside from the rather gag-inducing offscreen romance of CZJ & MD, not bad at all. 4 stars
2/12/01 bob buttons this movie fucking sucks way too long, too many subplots that no one understands. fuck it. 2 stars
2/12/01 Julie Loved it.......This movie shows the way it really is. 5 stars
2/12/01 john d(THE DUDE) A pile of shit 1 stars
2/10/01 astrotart Drug war movie tells you how it is without the use of dramatic overkill or happy endings. 4 stars
2/09/01 I Campbell Catch it on cable. Too forula and preachy. Del Toro is the only actor worth mentioning. 2 stars
2/08/01 Johnny Figaro Dash of style can't overcome 2-D characters and plot. In a better year would be ignored. 3 stars
2/08/01 ObiWan I've seen stronger epics. Del Toro, Cheadle were good, but OVERRATED 3 stars
2/07/01 Gordon Lawrie Like a 2 1/2 hour episode of "Miami Vice" nothing new here 2 stars
2/06/01 Bobby Too much hype 2 stars
2/05/01 Stuntman it was freaking awesome 5 stars
2/04/01 Owen Croak A 2.5 hr film ought to make some sort of statement in that time. Traffic doesn't. 2 stars
2/03/01 Kert Gartner Fucking awesome! 5 stars
2/02/01 Patrick Tiffany good good good good 5 stars
2/01/01 R Kramer Everyone needs to see this film. Is the drug war insane or what!!! 4 stars
1/30/01 Matthew Bartley Enthralling, terrific, suspenseful, intelligent, absorbing,thrilling what more do you want? 5 stars
1/29/01 rubber VERY mediocre 3 stars
1/26/01 Blubberbot It had some good parts and some bad parts. I'd rather watch a documentary on the subject. 3 stars
1/24/01 ObiWab Worth the price of a ticket to see Benicio Del Toro and Don Cheadle. The screenplay sucked. 4 stars
1/22/01 Unommon Sense Slept through much of it. No excitement, no suspense,little English.Too much subtitling 2 stars
1/22/01 Evan Price beautifully executed drug drama 5 stars
1/20/01 Marguerite absolutley loved it! Needed another 10 minutes! 5 stars
1/18/01 loser owns 5 stars
1/17/01 Jes Very artistic... 5 stars
1/16/01 Jim Kidd One part of me said it sucked but the other part bitchslapped that side and said it rocked! 5 stars
1/15/01 Silo It really sucks when the daughter dies at the end! 5 stars
1/15/01 Jefferson Darcy Stupid people walking out of the theater say "That was so boring". I almost hit them. 4 stars
1/14/01 orpy mostly great movie; depressing though 4 stars
1/13/01 rob Pretty damn good, but could be better 4 stars
1/13/01 bartv Exciting, engrossing, good acting. CZ Jones was a great villain. 5 stars
1/12/01 tnt Interesting and enjoyable...very real 4 stars
1/11/01 Boy In The Designer Bubble I'm so bored with drug flicks. I'm gonna have to get stoned to sit thru another one. 3 stars
1/11/01 DAVE Time and time again you'll think it's over, but it's far from it. 4 stars
1/11/01 Matt69 Great peformances by the coke head daughter and Benico del toro 5 stars
1/10/01 brian doesn't insult the audience... real people....not one dimensional hollywood characters 5 stars
1/10/01 puckfreak Over-hyped, surely not "Fucking Awesome" but worthy of a "Worth A Look" 4 stars
1/10/01 denise this is a bad ass movie! wonderful on many levels. 5 stars
1/10/01 Kiss My Grits damn best film i've seen in a long long time 5 stars
1/09/01 poetcdh Washed out colors are tedious, CZJ character makes big change from naive to player, how? 3 stars
1/08/01 Robert Goddamned good filmmaking. Exposes the realities of the failed war on drugs. 5 stars
1/08/01 Thor-Leo Too long. Neither engaging nor affecting. Too many characters, most of them poorly realized 3 stars
1/07/01 zak this is a true horror film, becasue it's quite possibly the world we live in 5 stars
1/07/01 Meagan A very realistic look at the drug problem without providing easy answers. 5 stars
1/06/01 frankko the best movie of 2000. 5 stars
1/06/01 Foreman One of the best movies I've ever seen. Everyone & everything is amazing, even Topher Grace! 5 stars
1/06/01 Harlan Pepper I loved everything about this movie. Even the music is cool. 5 stars
1/06/01 Schwartzy Great direction! Brilliant cinematography! 5 stars
12/27/00 Emily This movie is about to blow up like crazy! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  05-Jan-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  08-Mar-2001 (M)




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast