Movie Stats & Links
||Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle,
Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones
||Don't even think of bringing
||She might hate it or be
||The drug czar's daughter whores
herself out for drug money.
||Some explosions and dudes getting
shot in the back of the head.
||Only if you're sick.
||Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz,
The best movie ever! The best movie of the year! Youíve
got to go see this movie! They said the same thing about
Blair Witch Project." This time the buzz revolves around
"Traffic" and all Iíve got to say is itís no
"Dude, Whereís My Car?" (Yes, if you read my review of
Tiger, Hidden Dragon" you will notice the similarity in
opening paragraphs. My feelings are the same on both so why try a
different opening line?)
A Movie Review
"Traffic" tells three stories of how the war on drugs
isnít working which most normal people realize yet politicians donít
want to address. One story involves Robert Wakefield (Michael
Douglas). Heís the new US drug czar, thinks he can make a
difference, and then gets to find out that his daughter is right in
the middle of the war with her own drug problem. Story Two revolves around
Javier (Benicio Del Toro) and Manolo (Jacob Vargas), two cops in
Tijuana who get wrapped up with a Mexican army General who wants to
cripple one of the Mexican drug cartels and blackmails them into
helping. And Story Three has Helena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), wife of
a drug trafficker who gets busted by the DEA and she is hell-bent on
getting him out of jail.
Through the two and a half hours we get to see Wakefield realize
that maybe one of the reasons the war on drugs isnít working is
that no one has any new ideas on how to fight the problem (a great
scene on his airplane when he opens the floor for ideas, saying no
idea is stupid and every idea should be heard, yet no one speaks
up). Then there is the spiraling down of his daughter from an
occasional user with her high school friends to being strung out and
selling her body for money for drugs. While Wakefield has his
problems Javier just wants Tijuana to be a nicer place to live. He
thinks that by maybe helping the General take down the one cartel
that things might get better, realizes the General is an asshole,
and then realizes his information might be more valuable to the U.S.
drug folks and all he really wants in return in a lighted baseball
field so the kids can play in safety. Too bad his buddy, Manolo,
doesnít know how to work the system.
So weíve got Wakefield trying to find his daughter who is
whoring herself out, weíve got Javier practically shitting his
pants standing in front of the grave he just dug for himself, and
now weíve got Helena walking up to the DEA surveillance van
offering the agents some lemonade and asking them to watch out for
bad men who might try to kidnap her son. Sheís a smart cookie,
though, taking the advice from her husband in jail and knowing
exactly what needs to be done to get hubby out of jail and who can
do the job.
This is not a happy movie, nor should it be. But is it the best
movie? I didnít think so. I thought it was good, maybe a little
too artsy (I really didnít need each of the different stories shot
in a different tint: sepia for the Mexican side, blue for Wakefield,
and bright colors for Helena. I could easily tell what story line
was being told without the color difference), and just a tad too
long. I suppose it needed to be to tell the three stories, but
towards the end I didnít really care about the characters and I
already got the message that the drug problem isnít getting
better. Two and a half hours of, in the end, depressing stories,
(sure, Javier got his baseball field, but did it really make a dent
in the drug traffic), thatís what you should expect from
Iíll give "Traffic" 4 stars out of 5 because the
acting was good by just about everyone in their respective roles,
the story perspectives were interesting especially how they
intertwined, but I didnít leave the theater with the "Best
movie of the year" feeling that others keep saying it is.
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!