Traffic - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Traffic Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2010
An always engaging and expertly edited multi-character drama that presents a grim portrait about the war on drugs and understands that there are no easy solutions for this complex problem. But Soderbergh also exaggerates in his blatantly unsubtle, didactic photography.
Super Reviewer
½ October 21, 2007
A dark, unsettling, informative story interweaving three different casts of characters on how the drug trade effects all hierarchies and cultures. Steven Soderbergh has constructed a near-masterpiece of a film and one of the best films about drugs ever. The way he connects all three stories, and details his characters and gives each one many dimensions is simply stunning. The color schemes he uses for each story is definitely different but effective, and the way he concludes each one is impressive. There are some parts that feel a little Hollywoodized, but asides from these brief instances, this is a near-flawless film that deserves to be seen by anyone interested in the drug trade and just how deadly it is in all of society.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2007
Traffic is one of those films that transcends the process and the art of filmmaking and becomes something else entirely. It defines experimental filmmaking at its finest and excels at everything in every way possible. Starring an amalgam of talent from Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Miguel Ferrer, Luis Guzman, Don Cheadle and Dennis Quaid, with even small bit parts by Albert Finney, Benjamin Bratt, Topher Grace, Salma Hayek and James Brolin. Absolutely unbelievable, and they all give top notch performances. Steven Soderbergh's choice to film the three stories in three different ways using different lenses, filters, film stocks and photochemical procresses gives the film its identity as a living, breathing thing and not just another film. One of my favorite filmmakers working today, Steven Soderbergh always surprises me and keeps me interested in his work, which makes him incredibly appealing to filmmakers.
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2011
The best movie about "the war on drugs" ever made.
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
A perfect film with a perfect cast. Three intertwining stories are seperated by different visual styles employed by director/cinematographer Steven Soderbergh.
Super Reviewer
November 26, 2006
Superb drama of three complex stories about the international drug trade with the magnificent all-star cast.
Before the war on terror, America had been fighting a war on drugs, south of its border, for decades. As is aptly demonstrated in this Oscar-winning version of the UK mini-series of the same name, the results were comparable in cost and effectiveness.
What keeps this intense film skipping along so effectively is its constant shifting, from the washed-out grime of the Mexican-US border, to the stiff, blue-tinted corridors of power.
Super Reviewer
November 1, 2011
Director Steven Soderbergh does an excellent job at giving a balanced look into the American war on drugs. The issues talked about in the film seem more relevant now than in 2000 when the film was released. The story does a pretty good job at balancing three stories at once, each given sufficient development, although they tend to be a bit jumbled at times. The cast is the film's greatest attribute. Each actor gives an outstanding performance. The best performances are given by Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, and Don Cheadle. The film starts out really well as it establishes its main three story arcs, but the pacing gets a little uneven as it goes along. Despite an inconsistent pace, the film's level of intrigue keeps things going even when the film drags. Traffic is a crime-drama that offers an entertainingly informative look into American war on drugs while also leaving us with thought-provoking questions.
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2011
Helena Ayala: I'm on the board of my son's school, I have fundraisers for adult literacy at my own home. I think I have a right to know if my husband is a legitimate business man. 

"No One Gets Away Clean"

Traffic is a gripping and powerful drama about not only the war on drugs, but also about how those drugs effect the ones around us. Steven Soderbergh's direction is fantastic and he no doubt deserved that Best Director Oscar he won for this. Nothing is lacking in Traffic. It is extremely well written, acted and shot. It has unique elements like the different filters used to show the war in different locations. The cast is simply amazing. These aren't just big names appearing in a movie for the hell of it; they are all on top of their game. 

The standouts to me are Benicio Del Toro(Best Supporting Actor), the always awesome and overlooked Don Cheadle, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Benicio Del Toro plays a Mexican cop who is fighting the war on drugs from that angle. Don Cheadle plays an American cop who is also fighting that war on drugs. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a wife of a big time dealer who was arrested and is now on trial. This is one of the few times I have really have loved a performance from her. She's never bad, but seldom is she this good. Michael Douglas is the major player with the war. He has just been anointed as "the czar" when it comes to this war. Not to long after becoming czar, he learns that his daughter is on drugs. The daughter is also played extremely well by Erika Christensen, which is something I never thought I would say; I'm not a big fan. But she has some key scenes that are intense and powerful and she pulls them off every single time. She is extremely believable in every emotional situation.

The movie is a smart, thought provoking look at drugs. It's told from different angles. We see how the war is fought with the cops and also with government officials. We see the addicts and the filthy lives they lead, in order to keep their habit. We see the big time dealers. We see the families that are effected. It's all extremely powerful stuff; more so then any film on drugs that I have ever seen. 

What the movie isn't is a fun movie. It's slow in parts and it's long. It isn't all action, all the time. What it is an extremely well made and intelligent movie that brings a subject to light that is hard to know a lot about. All we can know about it is what we are told. If we don't live it, we don't know it. This is about as close as you can be to knowing about it, without being effected by it. Traffic is a unique and terrific movie that really is a must watch. 

Robert Wakefield: If there is a war on drugs, then many of our family members are the enemy. And I don't know how you wage war on your own family. 
Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 2010
Excellent, but I need a second viewing. Some parts were hard to follow, but a second viewing will easily clear things up. I loved it though!
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2007
Superbly written drama, with a very clear and powerful message that holds as much meaning now as it did 11 years ago, when this film was first released. Looking through the magnifying glass at the seemingly endless war on drugs, it's an insightful study of a very harsh and dangerous reality. Almost documentary-like in its approach, you're never once given reason to question the plausibility of the plot. Could all of the actions and words of the characters happen for real? Very much so, and that's part of what makes it so compellingly brilliant. The conscious choice to split the film into different color filters - depending on the location that currently lies in focus - is another effective element. Add to that a first-rate cast, along with intelligent and sure-handed directing, and suddenly it's no mystery why it's received such high acclaim. Over two hours long, but every minute a slice of cinematic finesse. My only beef with it concerns the pacing. While some parts move at optimal speed, others tend to drag a bit. Because of that I had to lower my rating somewhat. But all in all it's still a very good film, and some of the best work that Steven Soderbergh has ever done.
Super Reviewer
½ April 3, 2011
Traffic is an astounding movie. Takes the Pulp Fiction feel and goes above and beyond. Deserved the praise.
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2011
Featuring dizzying camera-work and an overly-complex story structure, Traffic is also bracingly intense and emotionally resonant. Steven Soderbergh's direction is consistently sharp, the performances excellent, and the treatment of the topic of drug-trafficking effective and challenging.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2011
With intense storylines, solid acting, and crazy cinematography, Traffic is gripping with its plot against the drug war whether it begins in D.C. to Mexico.
Super Reviewer
½ September 15, 2010
Traffic is an astounding, well acted film. Traffic tells the story of America's war on drugs. Judge Robert Wakefield played by Michael Douglas has been appointed the head of the President's of National Drug Control. The war on drugs gets pretty personal for Wakefield as his daughter starts experimenting with cocaine, and she soon develops a drug addiction. Traffic does an amazing job of portraying the drug war and overall cost of what drugs can do to a loved one. The film provides a clear view of the danger of drugs and also makes you realize what the cost is. Steven Soderbergh has assembled a phenomenal cast of actors that elevates the film tremendously. With such a cast at hand, Soderbergh has crafted quite an intriguing film. Traffic is one of the most captivating films about the war on drugs. As I've previously said twice in the review, the film examines what drugs do to kids, and also it counteracts with the ongoing war on drugs. Which the film does very well. It shows the cost of drug abuse, and what the government try to do to stop the drug lords from importing into the states. This is not an exciting action packed film that some may think it may be. Traffic is overall a suspenseful, thrilling film thats very well acted and told. Steven Soderbergh has crafted a unique film and it sends a very important message.
Super Reviewer
½ June 1, 2009
You may think Dennis Quaid is in this movie, but no. he is not. actually, just to be 100% that hes not in it, during the part where Zeta-Jones is leaving court for the first time, close your eyes for like 7 seconds and then open them when you hear Del Toro's voice. your welcome.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2006
A stellar cast and very interesting usage of colors turn this gritty look at the war on drugs into a sobering film that feels like a documentary. It has no solution to offer, but shows the circle of drugs as it probably is, with everyone that involves: the politician, the drug baron, the cop, the underage user. Realistic, frustrating, touching.
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2006
An instant classic. If it was any hotter it would burst into flames. A bold, scorching, electrifying, riveting and stunning crime drama. It's a heart-pounding and mind-blowing knockout. It shines with brilliance, suspense, blistering action and originality. Definitely hits the reality mark dead on, it does not get more intense or realistic then this. A masterpiece. One of the greatest crime epics since The Godfather. A wok of art. Director, Steven Soderbergh's best film. A turbo-charged and adrenaline-fueled thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's smart, gripping, shocking and outstanding. A superbly crafted and performed film. An extraordinary all-star cast that breaks out with greatness. Benicio Del Toro is terrific, he gives a real movie star performance. Dennis Quaid is remarkable. Micheal Douglas is magnificent, one of his strongest and best performances. Don Cheadle is fantastic. Catherine Zeta-Jones is brilliant.
Super Reviewer
½ December 31, 2006
A good drama that follows different entwining stories related to drugs in America. The film covers all aspects of the drug problem from the drug cartels in Mexico, the police officers on both sides of the border, the political side of things and the users. It's good how the stories all connect similar to Babel, Crash. This has a great cast and Benicio Del Toro is the best of them in my opinion. A little slow at times on some stories but overall a great film.
Super Reviewer
December 8, 2009
A great movie with a lot of clear messages and a realistic look. However, I don't feel that it is anywhere near Steven Soderberg's best work. It is surprisingly less emotional than his other work and it seems to be a little too preachy. I Think it had an amazing cast, but it was an incredibly jumbled script.
Super Reviewer
March 23, 2009
"No One Gets Away Clean"

A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is an addict.

Traffic is a bleak look at what goes on in the drug trade across the US/Mexican border. We see all aspects of how the process of drug smuggling happens from the people who get it across the border to the corrupt police and army, to the way it affects the kids on the street. This is quite a frank and somewhat depressing view of the modern day drugs trade. The direction is superb as is the acting. Every time we are over the Mexican border, the film is shot in sepia and every time we are with another set of people they have a different way the film is shot. Sometimes they cross paths. I'm not sure the Mexican part of the film was meant not to have subtitles but my DVD didn't, so I had to fathom out what was going on without knowing the language. I think I did quite well! Benicio Del Toro and Don Cheadle put on the best performances. The only thing that lets the film down is the story, although fascinating, is hardly edge of the seat stuff.
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