Traffic - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Traffic Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 29, 2016
Excellent acting and a well-crafted script make Traffic a worthwhile watch, even if in retrospect the film's early-2000s-feel and film editing makes it feel dated.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2016
Traffic did fairly well on the themes of drug abuse, and all the blurred lines separating good from bad, corrupt from principled, and love for family from call of duty when the former goes against the latter. I just didn't find it that compelling.
½ March 24, 2016
Very dark movie with 3 different stories going on at the same time. To me, the story was very realistic and the acting was excellent.
½ March 2, 2016
With not a single dull moment, "Traffic" is engrossing, gritty, and raises issues still relevant to the war on drugs over a decade after the film's release.
February 17, 2016
I just review Traffic.This was the best movie ever made on drugs & cartels. Witty , great plot stellar cast.Just terrific.Unforgettable.
½ February 3, 2016
Too many side stories.
None of them stand out.
February 2, 2016
Un polcía mexicano se ve envuelto en una red de corrupción, al mismo tiempo un agente de la DEA trabaja en uan operación encubierto en la DEA, un capo de la droga será capturado y reemplazado por su esposa, mientras que el nuevo zar antidroga de los Estados Unidos deberá lidiar con la adicción a la droga de su hija adolescente.
½ January 26, 2016
Seeing it 2000 and 2015, it really holds up nice. Its ring of plots still blend perfect and are still all relevant today. Each story being obvious, but not always clear to its end point. Someone who knew nothing about drugs in the US could use this as their CliffsNotes....sort of...
½ January 23, 2016
What I loved so much about Traffic, is its lack of a protagonist. Each of the characters have moments of slipping up and making bad decisions, so you don't know what's going to happen in the next scene. Be that as it may, the Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actor, Benecio Del Toro, owns this movie. He commandeers your attention from the first scene until the last. THAT is what acting is at its finest. Soderbergh, well played good sir! My hats off to Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Julia Stiles (great role for her), Albert Finney, and Topher Grace.
January 20, 2016
A great look into the Drug traffickers of today with stories connecting each other around
December 31, 2015
Steven Soderbergh manages to weave together three astounding storylines full of great performances within Traffic, a film that is truly astonishing in telling the different facets of its tale.
November 9, 2015
Easily the best 2-and-a-half hour long movie I've watched in awhile. Hard to believe I put this one off for so long being a huge fan of Soderbergh's work in general.
October 21, 2015
Presenting the devastation left in the wake of drug using and trafficking, Traffic also represents Steven Soderbergh's mainstream notoriety.
½ October 16, 2015
Either Soderbergh doesn't have a clue about how the illegal drug industry goes about it's daily routine or he doesn't want to tell anyone how it does. I think he really doesn't and everything he has created is a fictional recreation of the fiction that passes for news created on the tv networks owned by the company that also owns the film company he works for. He doesn't provide any information or story plot that you couldn't already watch on 60 minutes. If you like 60 minutes, you'll like Traffic.
½ September 6, 2015
A bit slow in its delivery
½ September 6, 2015
really well done film. showed you a lot of different perspectives and the characters are great. the acting, just really a well-rounded film. great cast, great real life portrayal. nicely done, mr. soderbergh. if I were wearing a hat, I would take it off. :)
½ August 31, 2015
8/30/15 I'd seen this before, but watched it again. I do think it switches from story to story a bit too often. The storylines are good though. It feels very real, so I can see why it is so critically acclaimed. I think I just prefer a film to be one cohesive story though, so I can't give it a higher rating.
½ August 24, 2015
Great movie, almost at loving level but just not exactly the kind of movie I actively love.

I hate to compare every hyperlink film to Crash, but this movie actually did resemble Crash in many ways, but replacing racism with the world of drugs. In both movies, there are large ensemble casts and seemingly disconnected stories that slowly intertwine as the movie goes on, often revealing unexpected connections. Both movies use those large ensemble casts almost as a vast survey reaching out to every participant in a certain social issue. For example, Crash takes the rich racist white lady, a super bigoted cop, a Persian shop owner being called 'Osama,' etc. Traffic does the same for the drug trade, taking a casual experimenter who becomes an addict, a drug czar, some DEA agents, and some corrupt Mexican cops. So for each of their respective issues, Traffic and Crash ambitiously tackle every person touched by the issue.

Traffic does things so well that Crash doesn't. The most obvious thing is the nuance. Crash isn't nuanced; its message is clear and obvious, spoken bluntly by Ludacris when he rants about racism. Traffic is so much more nuanced. There were times during the movie when I did worry that it wasn't any deeper than "drugs are bad," especially in scenes when people debrief Robert (Michael Douglas) about how dire the war on drugs is, like when they stand at the border checkpoint as someone tells Robert, "they don't have a job like yours in Mexico." But as the movie goes on, it gets more complex, and I love the way it ended, with Robert ending his 10-step war on drugs speech and attending one of his sister's narcotics anonymous meeting. It doesn't ever become preachy or over-the-top; it presents a slight change of heart as Robert sees the personal impact of drugs and opens his mind up a little. Same with the nice, elegant ending to Javier's story, as he watches baseball after having arranged for their night games.

Crash also annoyingly descends into that "wow, look at that crazy connection between these previously unrelated characters! Isn't it crazy how fate works?" thing. Like I've said in previous reviews, sometimes you can't help but find it cool to discover hidden connections, but if you want a movie about fate, watch Magnolia. If it's a movie like Crash or Traffic, the sprawling narrative should serve to 1. show a wide variety of characters who interact and participate in the system in different ways, and 2. illustrate how the social system intertwines all these people's lives in destructive ways.

So Traffic's use of overlapping stories and unexpected connections was perfect because it had the three things it needed to have. 1. It had a point. The fact that Francisco Flores, the assassin Javier catches, is the assassin Helena later hires isn't a mere coincidence. It shows how small this whole drug world is; I mean, it spans countries in its hugeness and effects, but a lot of the same people know each other. Same with how Javier and Helena pass each other on the street in Mexico. They share vital connections to Francisco Flores, and they both have significant ties to the Obregón brothers. 2. The interrelation of the stories makes the story easier to digest. This is a long, ambitious, sprawling story, but it's never hard to keep track of, partly because of the shifting visual style and partly because everything is tied together, not three entirely distinct stories. 3, and possibly most importantly, the connections are understated. When Helena and Javier pass each other on the street, it's done casually, without any crazy musical cues or mind-blowing camera pans to emphasize how insane it is. It's different from Crash, a movie that practically shouts at you, "look at how fucking cool it is that those two people just passed each other? You had no idea they were related!!!"

All of these strengths have left out some of the more obvious ones. The acting is aces all around. I like Benicio Del Toro as a charismatic guy who has to confront the corruption of the Mexican government who is supposedly anti-drugs. I like Michael Douglas's unveiled pain as he, a supposed politician, marches into the ghetto and demands to find his daughter. I like Topher Grace's narcissism and lameness almost as much as I like his monologue about racism encouraged by the drug trade, which should come across as preachy but for some reason simply didn't to me.

I could keep naming cool things. I love the editing, especially the quick and claustrophobic cuts as Caroline's friend begins to overdose, unnoticed by his friends. I like the distinct visual styles, which all fit perfectly with their stories. Portraying foreign countries like Mexico as entirely yellow is an annoying trope in TV shows like Teen Wolf, but it somehow fit with the low-key, understated storytelling here. The blue palette of the Ohio scenes fits with the really dark, somber story. And the naturalistic look works well for the California scenes, which in some ways are the most conventional, with an entertaining buddy duo (loved Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman, and heart broke a little when Ray Castro died). Also, the movie has some fun tense scenes reminiscent of Breaking Bad, even though most of the movie is more of a drama than a thriller. That scene with Flores getting ready to shoot Eduardo is terrific, as is the scene when Eduardo is actually killed.

Overall, Traffic is a super enjoyable movie full of rich characters, nuance, and understated storytelling.
August 18, 2015
"Traffic" combines a unique visual technique with interwoven stories chronicling the war on drugs; and how it effects both sides of the border, professionally and personally. This truly is a film of great substance, great acting, great style, and, above all...great significance.
August 10, 2015
The all star ensemble cast is spectacular.
They say drag issue is deeply rooted and cannot be easily solved. In 'Traffic', each character struggle in his/her own fight without anyone making clear cut.
One of the reason the drug issue is deep rooted is that the drugs are breeding ground of illegal business as well as their dependency. There is an opinion to legalize drugs to reduce violent crimes because cracking down on illegal activities in the US only results in increase of illegal business in Mexico and other countries as well as related violent crimes in the US.
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