Traffic

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Released 2001

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Movie Summary

Director:
Steven Soderbergh
Released:
2001
Rating:
R

Traffic is an American film that chronicles the illegal drug trade as examined through the eyes of various characters, including a user, an enforcer, a politician, and a trafficker. Each of the four storylines tells a similar tale, however they do not intertwine. Police officer Javier Rodriguez (Benicio del Toro) discovers a drug transport and arrests the couriers. Javier is then hired by General Salazar to find an infamous drug cartel who is currently torturing a hitman. Meanwhile Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) is an Ohio judge who has recently been promoted to National drug czar. Unbeknownst to him, however, his daughter Caroline (Erika Christensen) has developed a drug addiction and has begun prostituting herself for drug money. In San Diego, DEA officer Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) arrests a drug cartel whose wife Helena (Catherine Zera-Jones) did not known of her husband's profession. Each of the characters' relationship with drugs causes them problems beyond which they can solve themselves, and the film follows those that attempt to guide them. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Traffic won Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (del Toro), Best Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

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Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    Enormously ambitious and masterfully made, Traffic represents docudrama-style storytelling at a very high level.

  • 90

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    May be the first Hollywood movie since Robert Altman's "Nashville" to infuse epic cinematic form with jittery new rhythms and a fresh, acid- washed palette.

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    So though it takes important steps in that direction, the film pulls back from what seems to be its own logical conclusion.

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    Categories

    Drama, Suspense

    Themes

    Crime