Alternate Title: The War on Drugs
It’s common knowledge that drugs are bad (mmkay), but it’s also common knowledge that talk is cheap. To talk about solving a problem is of course not to solve it and anyone who’s anyone past the age of 16 knows that drugs are a gigantic problem. The source of the problem and how to solve it are tackled by Traffic.
This so-called war is painted from different angles. Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) is a cop in Tijuana whose penchant for sniffing out drug smugglers might come back to bite him; Helena Ayala (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the wife of a rich man whose money turns out to be dirty; Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) is a judge from Ohio that finds out just as he’s made it to Washington, D.C. that his own daughter has gotten a little too cozy with drug culture; and Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) is a DEA agent trying to tear the whole culture apart, one culprit at a time.
The film is tangled and distracted; it’s shot in a way where you feel like you keep turning your head because you might have missed something. The overall message is one of very slight hope in the face of a daunting enemy, but who is the true enemy? Is it the rich men creating the drugs, the drugs, people who do drugs?
Is the enemy all of us?
Traffic is exhilarating without preaching and honest without apologizing.
Now it’s Your Turn…
Traffic was nominated for Best Picture in 2000, but did the Academy get it right?