I went to my local library last to look for books for summer reading and came home with Traffic, instead, that I had not watched for a while.
Don’t watch this film just because there is Benjamin in it because he doesn’t have much screen time, but I think it is a good film, acted brilliantly, from which no character gets away clean.
The central focus of the film is the drug epidemic in the US and Mexico. It tells three separate stories that are each distinct unto themselves, yet interwoven into a common thread. One story takes place in Mexico and revolves around a cop with a conscience (Javier Rodriguez/Benicio Del Toro), the second story takes place in Ohio and Washington and involves the country’s new drug czar (Robert Wakefield/Michael Douglas) and the troubles he faces on the job and with his daughter who is a drug addict, and the third story takes place in San Diego and involves DEA agents (Montel Gordon/Don Cheadle and Ray Castro/Luis Guzman) trying to take down a big drug trafficker (Carlos Ayala/Stephen Bauer) whose wife (Helena/Catherine Zeta-Jones) learns the drug trade while he’s detained. Each story is shot in a different colour filter with the Mexico scenes being bright but grainy, the Ohio and Washington scenes in a moody indigo and the San Diego scenes in a sunny, vivid illumination. There are several other subplots that are also of note and move the story along. All of these vignettes interlock with one another somehow, serving to bring the story full circle.
It is a complex film that should be given repeated viewing to understand… if you blink, you’ll miss a vital part.