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Traffic is an award-winning drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh, set in the United States and Mexico, and starring Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The movie explores the complexities of the illegal drug trade, intertwining various storylines to create a compelling narrative. The film has a gritty, realistic feel and showcases the devastating effects that the drug trade has on individuals, families, and society as a whole.

The movie begins by introducing several characters whose lives are affected by the drug trade. Michael Douglas plays Robert Wakefield, a conservative judge and a newly appointed drug czar. His daughter Caroline, played by Erika Christensen, is a privileged teenager who becomes hooked on drugs. Benicio Del Toro plays Javier Rodriguez, a Mexican police officer who is enlisted to help the US government take down a powerful drug lord. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays Helena Ayala, the wife of a wealthy Mexican businessman who becomes deeply involved in the drug trade after her husband is arrested.

Throughout the film, these characters' stories intersect and we see the various ways in which drugs impact their lives. Wakefield's efforts to combat drug trafficking are complicated by the conflicting interests of politicians and the media, and by the fact that his own daughter is struggling with addiction. Meanwhile, Rodriguez finds himself up against corruption and violence within the Mexican police force and drug cartel. Ayala is forced to take increasingly risky and violent actions in order to protect herself and her family from the fallout of her husband's arrest.

The film is notable for its complex, non-linear structure. The narrative jumps back and forth in time and between different storylines, creating a sense of fragmentation and disorientation that perfectly mirrors the chaos and disorder of the drug trade. This structure also allows the filmmakers to explore the issue of drug trafficking from multiple angles, exposing the multiple facets of the trade and its far-reaching consequences.

Throughout the film, the performances are top-notch, particularly from the three main leads. Michael Douglas brings a gravitas and intensity to his role as Wakefield, perfectly conveying the character's frustration with the system and anger at his daughter's addiction. Benicio Del Toro is mesmerizing as Rodriguez, his understated performance highlighting the character's intelligence and emotional depth. Catherine Zeta-Jones, meanwhile, shines as Ayala, playing the character's transformation from naïve housewife to ruthless criminal with a rawness and vulnerability that make her character all the more compelling.

The film is also notable for its visual style, which is characterized by a stark realism that eschews flashy visuals or stylized camerawork. The film's muted color palette and tight close-ups create a sense of intimacy and claustrophobia that adds to the sense of unease and tension throughout the movie. The movie's use of handheld camera work and natural lighting further underscores the grittiness and immediacy of the film.

Ultimately, Traffic is a thought-provoking, emotionally powerful film that explores the complexities of the drug trade with nuance and depth. By weaving together multiple storylines and perspectives, and showcasing the devastating effects that drugs have on individuals and communities, the film paints a complex, multifaceted portrait of a pressing social issue. With strong performances, a compelling, non-linear narrative structure, and an unflinching commitment to realism, Traffic is a film that resonates with audiences long after the credits roll.

Traffic is a Thriller, Drama, Crime movie released in 2000. It has a runtime of 147 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.6. It also holds a MetaScore of 86.

How to Watch Traffic

Where can I stream Traffic movie online? Traffic is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Netflix, Peacock Premium, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Traffic for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Steven Soderbergh
Steven Soderbergh
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