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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'The drug is not in the doll, the drug is the doll'
I have finally seen this film in it's entirety and I like to say that `Traffic' is a richly entertaining epic that recalls the great works of the 1970s, when directors like Robert Altman and Francis Ford Coppola engaged mass audiences with works of genuine substance. Soderbergh works on a larger canvass than he's ever done before, bouncing several characters and...
Published on 5 July 2007 by Jenny J.J.I.

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good acting let down by a clichee-ridden script
at the risk of swimming against the tide with my thoughts: this is a good film with solid performances. BUT - and some 'but' this is - I felt the set-up to be full of clichees and pre-fabricated ideas. Everything in this film appears set to confirm what the majority of viewers would come to expect. Thus the scenes shot in the world of politics appear in some steely blue...
Published on 25 July 2001


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'The drug is not in the doll, the drug is the doll', 5 July 2007
By 
This review is from: Traffic [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I have finally seen this film in it's entirety and I like to say that `Traffic' is a richly entertaining epic that recalls the great works of the 1970s, when directors like Robert Altman and Francis Ford Coppola engaged mass audiences with works of genuine substance. Soderbergh works on a larger canvass than he's ever done before, bouncing several characters and plot-lines against and off each other, so that images and themes rhyme and echo. Although the subject matter is drug trafficking, this is not an "issues" movie per se. Instead, it's a profoundly affecting dramatic thriller where the destructive forces of drugs cut across different sections of society.

Some will say that it takes too long, or that some of the scenes are a bit slow. But does everything go fast paced in real life? It just tries to sketch a realistic view of handling with drugs. And maybe there isn't a lot of action going on, but that's not the goal of the movie.

This film has an amazing ensemble cast where everybody is working at the top of their game. However, Benicio Del Toro definitely stands out with the breakthrough performance. I don't think it's accidental that the movie begins and ends with shots of him. He plays Javier Rodriguez, a Mexican police officer caught in a futile and corrupt system, and it's as compelling of a character as Michael Corleone. Del Toro is exceptionally relaxed and subtle, keeping his thoughts and feelings private from the other characters in the films, but sharing it with the camera. Del Toro navigates the audience through a world of impossible choices and moral corruption, quietly simmering with intense conflict just beneath the surface. Benicio's been an indie stalwart for years and this film shot his stock through the roof.

Michael Douglas is also terrific, adding another strong performance to his gallery of flawed men in power. He shows genuine fear and vulnerability in a harrowing scene in which he searches for his daughter in a drug dealer's den. I've never seen Erika Christensen before, but she makes an impressive debut. Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman are as loose, limber and spontaneous as ever, providing plenty of comic relief as well as keeping it real. Catherine Zeta-Jones takes a complete 180 from her past roles and admirably plays against her looks, appearing very pregnant while thrown into gritty surroundings. Dennis Quaid is appropriately slimy as a corrupt lawyer.

Anybody who is starved for a genuine piece of film making should breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy Soderbergh's engaging film.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genius?, 7 Jun 2004
This review is from: Traffic [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
They say that genius's steal and that is certainly true for Steven Soderbergh and Steven Gaghan. I bought the screenplay of the film, and nowhere in the introduction do either of them mention that the whole film, almost scene by scene is a complete lift from the Channel 4 mini-series of the same name made over ten years before. All the characters, dialogue and plot of the film are an almost complete, albeit Americanised facsimile of the mini-series with the only difference being that the original was about the heroin trade between Germany, the UK and Pakistan. Lindsay Duncan also made for a much more convincing drug dealer wife than Cathereine Zeta Jones. The film is good and has some nice stylistic flourishes; definitely worth watching. However I do recommend the original series: it's darker and more convincing. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with Soderbergh/ Gaghan making the series into a film - I just think it is rather discourteous, not to say a tad disingenuous for neither of them to cite the original as a direct "inspiration" and to take all the credit for themselves. Naughty!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, 13 April 2003
This review is from: Traffic [VHS] [2001] (VHS Tape)
A great film that shows how the 'war on drugs', like the 'war on alcohol' during Prohibition in America, is unwinnable and futile and merely makes our family members, friend and acquaintances into 'the Enemy' and leaves the world at the mercy of rival murderous millionare criminal drug lords. The only war really being fought is of one drug gang against another. Watch it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good acting let down by a clichee-ridden script, 25 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Traffic [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
at the risk of swimming against the tide with my thoughts: this is a good film with solid performances. BUT - and some 'but' this is - I felt the set-up to be full of clichees and pre-fabricated ideas. Everything in this film appears set to confirm what the majority of viewers would come to expect. Thus the scenes shot in the world of politics appear in some steely blue and Mexico is brown - I mean, come on! Most annoying, however, is the character played by C. Zeta-Jones: an obedient house-wife turns into a shrewd narcotics dealer overnight able to disguise heroin in dolls... View it one should but praise it?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but...., 7 Mar 2007
By 
Bianca White "bianc93" (Gosport, Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Traffic [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Traffic the movie is quite good, but then so was the original Channel 4 series of yesteryear, named Traffik. Traffik was something like 8 or 10 hours long, meaning much of the story was condensed to fit into Soderbergh's version although top marks must be awarded for at least making relevant cuts to the old screenplay. The London of Traffik became Washington DC for Traffic, Hamburg became California and Pakistan became Mexico.

For me Benecio Del Torro and Michael Douglas were the outstanding players. Jones, as ever, put on a mediocre performance and I note with dismay that despite the talent and innovation of Hollywood, they still can't stop themselves from glamming up ordinary characters into aesthetically pleasing ones. The teenage daughter of Douglas' character, plunged into drug addiction, never suffered from mottled skin, matted hair, bad teeth and open sores and instead kept her fine looks and preppy lifestyle. Even when she sold herself for a fix, the flawless youth who serviced her could have come straight from a Milano catwalk, instead of the reality of grime and sleaze just waiting to exploit.

I did find the colour coding of the scenes distracting rather than helpful. Another downside was the rather muffled sound throughout the film. Was this another "reality" injection, along with the artfully sloppy editing and camera angles?

But for the aforementioned faults, Traffic is a good film, an interesting Americanisation of the original Eurasian tale. But to be fair this latest version does add something that the old one could not achieve. If you don't believe me, imagine "Pulp Fiction" set in Wiltshire. Let's face it, no-one does "cool" like the US of A.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hope this is helpful :, 25 July 2006
By 
K H "k21h" (Galway ,Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Traffic [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Traffic has three storylines connected with the war against drugs in America. One is about a Senator (Michael Douglas)who is appointed as the countrys drugs tzar but and finds out his daughter is an addict. The second storyline is about a Tijuana cop(Benicio Del Toro) who is the moral conscience of the film and is faced with a dilemna about his work. The third storyline follows a drug barons wife (Catherine Zeta Jones) ,who after her husband is arrested finds out the truth about his work, and two DEA agents (Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman) who are taking surveillance of her and are transporting a drug baron to testify.

Traffic has been inevitably compared to this years 'Syriana' as the writer of Traffic is the writer and director. Syriana is somewhat similar but is alot easier to understand and allround ,a much better film.

The performances are great ,especially by Benicio Del Toro who deservedly won an oscar (and every other award) and gives one of the best performances in a film for years. Also Don Cheadle is very believable as a DEA agent who knows he's fighting a losing battle and Clifton Collins Jr (The last castle ,Tigerland) is impressive as an assasin hired to kill a drug baron that is going to testify.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Superb acting, but an unengaging film., 9 Jun 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Traffic [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I realise that I will come under some fire for this, but I have to say that I feel this film is simply not very good.
I accept that Soderbergh has created a very interesting and thought provoking style to the film and has created a film with some very strong messages in it on the war against drugs. I am also willing to state that Benecio del Toro has given a simply superb performance as Javier Rodriguez.
What I am not willing to accept is that this film is an over-long, self-indulgent and ultimately uninteresting montage of predictable and seen before stories. It may be based on a superb tv series (which I have not seen), but the film itself just does not make for a compelling movie. There is nothing here that we have not seen done before and in a much more interesting way. Surely it would have been far better for Soderbergh to concentrate on one of the three narratives and explore their impact within the whole picture of the war on drugs, rather than trying to weave three simplifications together to 'educate' us? And another thing, a film is not 'gritty' simply because it is about a real world problem!
This film does have some redeeming features as mentioned earlier and should be required viewing for many film students and world leaders, but for the normal home viewer, my advice is watch something else!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully crafted but flawed, 5 Feb 2003
By 
Lendrick (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Traffic [VHS] [2001] (VHS Tape)
This is the story of the 'war on drugs' told through 3 sets of eyes; a the Mexican cop, a newly appointed drugs czar, and a wealthy wife who discovers her husband is a drug smuggling Mr Big. It is a political film with a message setting out to show the futility of the war and the cost both of that war and of the drugs themselves.
Soderbergh shows his talent as a director both in the cutting edge but never overly flashy direction and in getting outstanding performances from his leads, in particular Benecio Del Toro who provides the moral core of the movie as troubled Mexican cop Xavier. The brave decision to have must of the Mexican scenes in Spanish with subtitles works very well.
However, it is the script that lets the whole thing down slightly. This is a film with a desire to educate as well as entertain. At times lengthy informative speeches are put into the mouths of characters breaking up the flow of the story telling. Also a little too much is put on the story of the drugs tsar with the drug addict daughter. Even Michael Douglas excellent performance can't paper over the cracks of an incredible storyline nor disguise corny ending.
All in all though an ambitious and enthralling film willing to tackle serious issues head on. It should be required watching for many of our political leaders.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A exceprional film on drugs, 16 Oct 2004
This review is from: Traffic [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Traffic is by far the best Steven Sondenbergh film.
With great adroitness Sondenbergh managed to treat deeply, thoroughly, harshly (but with sensitivity) the heating problem of drugs. A very good script magnificently incorporated into the interpetations of Douglas, Del Toro and Jones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traffic - Compelling & Brilliant., 4 May 2004
This review is from: Traffic [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
The fact that Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" just happens to be a compelling, brilliant film on its own doesn't hurt - it's just that whether or not it was a "good" movie would have been a little irrelevant no matter what, since either way I'd just be praising it for the cinematography alone: its great use of colour tints to apply to the different stories twisting through this epic drama is worth the rental/purchase alone. However, the fact that I actually did enjoy it on top of all that is a sure bonus.
A gripping tale of the vast and never-ending "War on Drugs", "Traffic" really feels more like a documentry/drama, if anything else, but it also contains many welcome doses of action, suspense, and thrills along the way. Fortunately, the overall presentation of these elements is nothing short of impressive, intelligent, and realistic. Speaking of realism, it is also a blessing that the filmmakers chose to wrap up this film with a vague and "unsolved" ending. The way things work out in the film are, I think, the way things would normally work out in real life. I'm glad they didn't just try to put a clean finish to all the stories and wrap it all up in a neat, tidy little bow (as is often expected of Hollywood).
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Traffic [DVD] [2001]
Traffic [DVD] [2001] by Steven Soderbergh (DVD - 2001)
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