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.
Saw this on 21/4/15
Traffic is a well made film from director Steven Soderbergh that has good acting, versatile story and fine cinematography. It's cast is one of it's best features, however, it is slightly predictable despite the thrills that it provides.
Steven Soderbergh is one of those who could take any topic, and tell a story with it; how I personally feel about each one however is variable. I was not so compelled with the previous film, or "films", that I have seen from the director, which was the epic biographical tale of Che. Though even with that, I came into Traffic with a positive mindset, hoping the experience would be similar to the wonderful and exhaustive Contagion or the emotionally gripping and mesmerising King of the Hill; Traffic leans more towards the former, acting as a landscape painting of drugs in America.
The film tackles multiple aspects of the subject, similar to Contagion, and tells it with precise editing, that lets the experience feel smooth and the connections between the tales, slowly becoming clearer as time passes. Soderbergh has a gift in taking large and epic premises, and make them feel small and intimate. Traffic is more concerned on the characters rather than the bigger picture; it shows how drugs change them, motivate them, and crush them.
I did however wish that some of the film's stories were told better, as some felt limp and lacking of excitement as compared to its siblings; some characters felt a bit underdeveloped, only revealing more of themselves during the latter aspects of the film; an example would be Don Cheadle or Benicio Del Toro's characters. Dennis Quaid's character was barely even touched. I would have preferred it if Soderbergh built all of its characters more consistently and with equal concentration. If there was a character that never disengaged me, it would be Michael Douglas's character; watching his story unfold, balancing work and family, and how both are connected to the film's subject, left me in constant thought of not just the character but the larger ideas behind it.
Steven Soderbergh is slowly becoming one of my favourite directors, an artist who leaves a certain trademark in the way he handles its stories and characters, but never repeating the same subjects. He is one of the few directors who could create ensemble films and manages to get at least 90% of its core characters respectfully explored; unlike others who would have their actors drift in and out, leaving something little as a scratch in the minds of its audience.
But this hit is so far his least of his works that I've seen so far. The only topic to make his vision to work was to present three different sides of the drug war - a war on disgusting, sickening, dumb drugs that people stupidly deciding to take and minimizing their lives in each dose. Okay this isn't a flaw, but I just like to point it out when watching a live dose is a disgusting sight of unhealthy.
"Traffic" is enjoyable by the cast and their performances following an ambitious format, but it's not at the same level of Soderbergh's other works due to a few decision making to the direction turned unresolved and not being appealing. (B+)
(Full review coming soon)