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Sleaze,Corruption & Drugs
Feb 18, 2001 12:57 AM 7238 Views





“Traffic'' shows audiences some graphic scenes that they would ordinarily never see, unless they perform the motions themselves or witness real-life people doing them. I am talking about scenes such as clean-faced, private school attending teenagers snorting cocaine and shooting up heroine. The harsh reality that the audiences are faced with are both a slap in the face and a tug at the heart. This movie aims to wake the world up and make it aware of the severe drug problem plaguing our globe.

''Traffic'' is an expose on the North American drug trade, tracing it from the dusty outskirts of Mexico to the impressive skyscrapers of Washington, D.C. The main character is a Judge from Ohio named Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas), a kick-ass conservative of the most rigid kind, is appointed to clear up the violent mess that is the drugs business. Until, that is, he realises it is a tightly tangled web on which he himself is soon stuck, having discovered that his daughter is a junkie.

The two Mexican cops, Javier Rodriguez (Benicio del Toro) and Manolo Sanchez (Jacob Vargas), who, in their quest to stop, or at least slow down drug trafficking in Mexico, get caught up in the whole corrupt mess themselves.

And then there is Carlos Ayala (Steven Bauer), a millionaire who gets his money by bringing drugs into California, unknown to his trusting, very beautiful, and pregnant wife, Helena (Catherine Zeta-Jones). To the blind eye, all these characters would have nothing in common. But in reality, they are all bound by that encompassing plague that attacks in solid, liquid, or gaseous form...drugs.

''Traffic'' is not for everybody. People who would rather live in a dreamworld should stay away from this one. But those who can confront the ugly realities will like it. Personally,I liked it though the pace is slow, the plot dragging, and the presentation confusing. But I admire the director's willingness to explore and exhibit a fresh style of filmmaking. It sure is different...and memorable. And the acting is commendable as well. The actors did a good job of making the film utterly realistic. And that is an important factor if the director was to get his message across. And what is this message, exactly? Well, that is the thing. As an audience, you are left to decipher that for yourself.

The movie is powerful precisely because it does not preach. It is out there to provoke and expose and you walk away from the theatre with some valuable lessons and enlightening realisations

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