from the Back Row
Traffic: Jolting the (Viewers') System
Bob faces major problems on both counts. Drugs flow across the Mexican border faster than illegal aliens. Corrupt government officials pocket millions in bribes and kickbacks. And Mexico wants to get in on the act. But that's not bad.
Warring drug cartels kill under cover operatives like ducks in a shooting gallery. Honest policemen, tempted by a free-flowing river of drug money, cross over to the dark side faster than Darth Vadar. And the department's funding may be cut. But that's not bad.
Bob's 16-year-old daughter smokes dope, snorts crack, and shoots really bad chemicals into her veins. She steals from the family, runs away from home, and prostitutes herself in her quest to achieve the ultimate high. But that's not bad.
Bob's daughter accidentally slips the "F word" into the conversation at dinner. Now, that's bad. Bring on the shrinks and counselors.
This movie offered more plots than an underworld cemetery. The story hammered back and forth with more jolting scene changes than a Stephen King novel. At times I couldn't tell who was killing whom.
But I could always tell when the scenes switched to Mexico. The sepia effect gave those scenes a strong sense of desperation. And in Mexico, you can always tell the good guys from the bad guys, because there are no good guys. Everyone south-of-the-border makes a living in the illegal drug trade.
Despite the fragmented style, the hectic pace, and the brown Mexico scenes, Traffic held together very well. Without getting too preachy or moralizing, it portrayed a realistic view of the ubiquitous drug culture enjoyed by millions across America today. Douglas performed well as the distraught father trying desperately to reconcile his job with his personal problems. Catherine Zeta-Jones sparkled as the trophy wife of an incarcerated drug-lord. And Benicio del Toro turned in a great performance as the only good cop in Mexico. But I liked Topher Grace (that nice kid on That '70s Show) the best. He did an excellent job of playing the not so nice, spoiled rich-kid drug pusher. I give Topher an A+100 for his effort and for his unusual name. Nice job, Topher. I give the movie a B.
Dixie says: First, I was confused. Brown and white scenes with sub-titles? Am I in a foreign film? Then, the movie panned to America. And, like when the house fell in Wizard of Oz, the movie changed to beautiful color. The plot twisted and turned, and … Oh no, I lost my train of thought… Where was I? Oh, yeah… Oops, I lost it again. Darn, I guess I need to finish this when they release me from rehab. Great movie, good acting, and a fantastic story line. I give the movie a B+.
Don & Dixie Mitchell
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