USA Films/Initial/Bedford Falls (Edward Zwick,
Marshall Herskovitz & Laura Bickford)
W: Stephen Gaghan [based on
the TV series "Traffik" by Simon Moore]
DP: Peter Andrews
Ed: Stephen Mirrione
Mus: Cliff Martinez
Michael Douglas (Robert Wakefield), Don
Cheadle (Montel Gordon), Benicio del Toro (Javier Rodriguez), Luiz Guzman (Ray Castro), Dennis Quaid (Arnie Metzger), Catherine Zeta-Jones(Helena
Ayala), Steven Bauer (Carlos Ayala), Benjamin Bratt (Juan Obregón) James Brolin (Gen. Ralph Landry), Erika Christensen (Caroline Wakefield)
An intelligent mix of docudrama and crime
thriller, Traffic is a twisted vignette of interlinking stories much in the vein of Short Cuts, Crash, Babel, etc. uncovering the depths of drug running and the people it
Steven Soderbergh's excellent direction
makes the three main stories easier to follow with a unique visual style. The sepia tint in the Mexico sequences may be a bit harsh on the eye but makes the documentary-style
footage seem all the more real, following police officer Benicio del Toro torn between his duty and turning a blind eye to the deep-running corruption.
Tinted with cool blue camerawork, Michael
Douglas' viewpoint plays like a political drama, with Douglas' Washington senator vowing to stamp down on American drug culture while being unaware that his own daughter is
The third story follows narcotics
detective Don Cheadle and his partner investigating drug baron Steven Bauer and his pregnant wife Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Los Angeles suburbs, with double-crossing and
hired assassinations on both sides of the fence.
Not only is Soderbergh's direction first
rate, it's helped by a clever Stephen Gaghan screenplay (adapted from the Channel 4 television series), superb editing and fantastic performances from Douglas, Zeta-Jones,
Cheadle, Erika Christensen and especially Benicio del Toro (who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor).