Click above to purchase "Traffic" at amazon.com
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 147 minutes
Starring Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del
Toro, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta Jones, Luis Guzman
Screenplay by Stephen Gaghan
Based on the British Mini-Series "Traffik" by Simon
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Retail Price: $26.95
Features: "Inside Traffic" Featurette, Photo Gallery,
Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots, Keep Case Insert Production
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Closed
Captions, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish
Subtitles, Chapter Search (68 Chapters)
While watching the Oscars® this past year, "Traffic"
did some like an underdog of sorts with only five
nominations. However, there was a point I felt it was going
to sweep the awards. Four out of five ain't bad at all, but
"Gladiator"'s Best Picture win just further proves how much
of a popularity contest the Academy Awards® are.
Raves from critics and big box office business, "Traffic"
was one of the most noteworthy movies of last year. While
some felt it was robbed of Best Picture, this is a movie
that will stand the test of time and still be remembered
many years from now. This is truly an important and accurate
movie about drug trafficking that so many people should see
and experience. The plot and themes are really essential to
this movie, and the commentary on the drug war and how it
may never die makes the film more satisfying. This movie
shows what effects drugs can have on so many different
Based on the 1989 mini-series "Traffik", this much
shorter version (and Americanized) follows several
intertwined stories that are developed with much care and
come together perfectly. One story involves Robert
Wakefield, the newly appointed US Drug Czar. His career
thrives, however, as it's his job to help stop drugs cocaine
use is strong within his daughter and his wife was once a
drug addict herself. Another story follows Javier Rodriguez,
a Mexican cop who is caught within his job and his
principles while another story has a drug trafficker's wife
named Helena take over the business as her husband is
arressted. She doesn't want to give up her life style.
Finally, two San Diego based DEA agents are caught up in one
of the above plots.
There's so much to like about "Traffic", I don't know
where to begin. I guess I'll start with the acting. Of
course, Benicio Del Toro does an amazing job as Javier
Rodriguez, a Mexican cop who is caught in a conflict between
his work and himself. Del Toro's role is largely in Spanish
and is simply amazing. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta
Jones give powerful performances while Luis Guzman and Don
Chedle have great chemistry as the DEA agents. There's a ton
of great ensemble acting here, and it's no wonder why this
movie won "Best Ensemble" at the SAG Awards.
While I've never seen the original "Traffik", Stephen
Gaghan's script here is fabulous. The story is well timed
and even, complete with really emotional and well-rounded
scenes with great dialogue. There's just a great, even pace
that a movie like this can mess up miserably but thankfully
The editing is great and won the Oscar®, and
Soderbergh, a great director who's made quite a leap during
the past few years also won. He really deserved it. He does
so much with this movie and really pushes it to the bone.
His style, the way the film flows, the different color
choices and how he presents things are excellent. What I did
feel get snubbed though was the cinematography. It really
brings Soderbergh's vision to life and the camera movemens
have a life of their own. This movie has a lot of great,
detailed and breathtaking shots. It really stands out.
So that's "Traffic"... I barely scratched the surface
with it. There's a lot more to this movie. If you haven't
seen it, sit yourself down, watch and be impressed. One of
the best movies of the year 2000 for sure.
"Traffic" does feature a variety of different styles to
represent its story lines, and this transfer represents them
quite nicely. From the washed out, documentary-style of
Mexico to the bold, hard edge colors of the American scenes,
there's a lot to admire within Soderbergh's style and
choices to present the film. The result is a great, strong
look that makes the film effectful. The movie is 1.85:1
anamorphic widescreen, and despite some grain, noise and
shimmering, this is a strong transfer.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital on "Traffic" is a bit
disappointing. I kept wondering when surrounds were going to
kick in, but a lot of the film uses the front channels
surprisngly. Not to say that this track doesn't pack
surrounds. When there are surrounds they pack a strong
punch, but this is a movie that should really use all the
speakers a good amount of the time since there is a lot of
action. However, that's not the case. It's not a bad track
at all, I felt the need for more activity. Dialogue is crisp
and clear and there was no distortion at all. An Dolby
Digital English 2.0 track is included as well as English
closed captions, English subtitles, French subtitles and
Spanish subtitles. One English subtitle track is for the
stream of foreign languages in the film (that's
automatically turned on) while the other is for everything.
For a film that was commercially and critically
successful, it's kind of puzzling why the "Traffic" DVD
doesn't have more features. While Soderbergh regused to do a
commentary for this release, you do have some pretty
There is a US Teaser Trailer and US Theatrical
Trailer in non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel
sound. A German Trailer is also included while there
are five US TV Spots.
A forty still Photo Gallery is included while a
nineteen minute featurette called Inside Traffic is
the main supplement. The latter is purely promotional and
features clips from the movie as well as interviews with
Soderbergh, Gaghan, Douglas, Quaid, Zeta Jones and others.
Nothing new or exciting.
There also 68 chapter stops... wow. It's a long movie,
and it's the most I've seen on a single DVD yet. Also, the
keep case insert has a lot of nice production notes.
While the 5.1 is a bit disappointing, the video
presentation is nice and the supplements are sadly lacking.
However, this is a great, important movie that everyone
should really check out. If you liked it, "Traffic" should
be in your collection.
(4.5/5 - NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)