TRAFFIC: As Real As Movies Can Feel

Traffic is the movie so many Americans have waited for. It tells the real story of drug trafficking in America. The movie, starring Michael Douglas, centers around the trafficking industry of North America. When Robert Wakefield (Douglas) is named the new head of the DEA, he faces an insurmountable task in trying to subdue the drug problem.

The movie also takes the audience across the border into Mexico where the nuances of drug control are very difficult to say the least. It is even said at one point, “Law enforcement is an entrepreneurial industry in Mexico,” a statement attesting to the corruptness of that country’s police force.

I thought the movie was very entertaining and well detailed. One drug informant goes into detail on how he likes to “burn” CDs; also, there is a lot of political jargon in the movie. Eduardo Ruiz, a key witness in the trial of a cocaine distributor, tells the police guarding him, “You know, you guys remind of the Japanese soldiers out in the Pacific who think that World War II is still going on. Your government surrendered the drug war a long time ago.”

There is enough truth and common sense written into the movie to make you wonder if this wasn’t scripted from real life. The acting was impeccable, sans Catherine Zeta-Jones, whom I thought did the worst job of the cast. There were a lot of no-name actors who really stepped up and made this movie the treasure I hope it becomes.

Traffic really looks at the drug problem in America with a cold eye and asks, “Is our 20 billion dollar a year drug policy really the answer?” It is a difficult question that each of us must answer for ourselves.

The story itself is a bit Hemingway-esque in that there is no visible conclusion, so that the viewer is allowed to guess what happens at the end. There were a lot of loose ends which we, the audience, did not see the conclusion to. I believe that had the effect of making the movie more exciting to think about and to give the audience a certain freedom in deciding what it wants to think from the movie.

Steve Soderbergh did a brilliant job directing this movie. I recommend going to see it at once!