Monday, October 31, 2016

Traffic (2000)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writers: Stephen Gaghan, Simon Moore
DOP: Peter Andrews (Steven Soderbergh)
Cast: Michael Douglas, Benicio del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Don Cheadle, Erika Christensen

An intertwined drama about the United States' War on Drugs, seen through the eyes of a once conservative judge, now newly appointed drug Czar, his crack-addicted daughter, two DEA agents, a jailed- drug kingpin's wife, and a Mexican cop who begins to question his boss' motives.

There are three main storylines in three different geographical locations and the threy are differentiated for the audience by three different colour tones adopted by Steven Soderbergh, who himself handled the camera for the film. I had seen this film many years ago and was hugely impressed by it. I went in for rewatch with some premonition as every War on Drugs films/TV series suffer from post 'The Wire' syndrome as you tend to compare everything with this gold standard. Wire had 60 hours to develope its world and story while Soderbergh gets only less than three hours. Considering that, Traffic matches its ambition and still stands the test of time. Then again, you cannot really compare the two as Traffic is from a white perspective while Wire from a black.

The huge ensemble cast does a terrific job and Benicio del Toro got his Oscar for best supporting actor for this Spanish speaking role. Soderbergh also won the academy award for best director. Film is an adaptation of Channel Four Brirish drama 'Traffik'. Soderbergh cited 'All the President's Men' as an inspiration for the film and I also got reminded of Michael Mann's 'The Insider'. Multiple storyline were quite in vogue during those times and Soderbergh's effort is among the best if you consider it as a genre onto itself.

Rating: 5/5