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Traffic

  • Drama
  • Crime/detective
  • 2000
  • Steven Soderbergh
  • 140 mins
  • 18

Summary

Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Don Cheadle star in Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning, multilayered crime drama that shows how disparate lives in the USA and Mexico are interconnected through the drugs trade and the battle to stop the traffickers.

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

This brilliantly realised high-tone crime drama (based on the 1989 Channel 4 ratings winner Traffik) is a textbook example of how to adapt a TV production successfully for the big screen. Filmed by Steven Soderbergh in a scintillating docudrama style, and using a broad but involving multi-strand story canvas, this powerful overview of the contemporary narcotics trade exposes the complex chain supplying North America's drug culture. Looking at the drug barons based in Tijuana, Mexico, and the addicts blighting Ohio, Soderbergh paints a sobering and compelling picture of the resources needed to keep on top of the game from both sides of the law. On the one hand, there's newly appointed drugs tsar Michael Douglas who, while trying to get a handle on the vast problem, is unaware that his teenage daughter has a serious drug habit. On the other is wealthy drug kingpin Steven Bauer whom DEA agents Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman are desperately trying to nail. Wonderfully acted by an amazing cast packed with big names in cameo roles (Dennis Quaid, James Brolin, Albert Finney, Amy Irving, Peter Riegert, Salma Hayek), the stand-out performances come from a magnetic Benicio Del Toro, playing a Mexican cop torn between morality and temptation (he received the best supporting actor Oscar for his sensitive turn), and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Bauer's shell-shocked pregnant wife who gradually realises she will have to take full control of her husband's cartel if she is to protect her own comfortable lifestyle. (Although they don't share any scenes, this is the first movie on which Douglas worked with future wife Zeta-Jones.) Striking exactly the right balance between provocative insight and slam-bang action, Traffic is an ambitiously mounted and wholly satisfying social-issue drama.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
Robert WakefieldMichael Douglas (1)
Montel GordonDon Cheadle
Javier RodriquezBenicio Del Toro
Helena AyalaCatherine Zeta-Jones
Arnie MetzgerDennis Quaid
Carlos AyalaSteven Bauer
Ray CastroLuis Guzman
Caroline WakefieldErika Christensen
Francisco FloresClifton Collins Jr
Eduardo RuizMiguel Ferrer
Seth AbrahmsTopher Grace
Barbara WakefieldAmy Irving
Jeff SheridanD W Moffett
Chief of StaffAlbert Finney
General Ralph LandryJames Brolin
Attorney Michael AdlerPeter Riegert

Crew

rolename
DirectorSteven Soderbergh

Details

Theatrical distributor
Entertainment
Released on
2001-01-26
Languages
English | Spanish
Guidance
Violence, swearing and drug abuse.
Available on
video and DVD
Formats
Colour
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