No one gets away clean
No one gets away clean

D: Steven Soderbergh
USA Films/Initial/Bedford Falls (Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz & Laura Bickford)
US 2000
147 mins


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 affects. 
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 addict.
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).
Benicio del Toro in Traffic
Benicio del Toro in Traffic