Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) is a mildly corrupt but dedicated cop who has recently come under command of a new boss. His new commander may not be as anti drugs as he originally made himself out to be and Javier must grapple with his conscience and do the right thing. Selene Ayala (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the trophy wife of a wealthy drug dealer who struggles to keep his affairs in order when he faces the prospects of a lengthy jail term. Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas) is a conservative judge appointed by the President to head up America’s war on drugs whilst on,y just discovering the extent of his daughter’s habits.
Traffic is a film brought to us by Steven Soderbergh which shows many sides of the continuing that is America’s war on drugs. This film did very well at the Academy Awards for very good reason. The acting was exceptional, the writing was wonderful, however with the cast and director that were involved, I don’t suppose we were expecting anything less.
I am very quickly becoming a huge fan of Benicio Del Toro and his work. As Javier, Del Toro played a man struggling to find the balance between right and wrong. It was another wonderful performance from him, and clearly I am not the only one to think this as Del Toro went on to win Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the dedicated police officer.
Catherine Zeta-Jones was equally as good as the wife of a drugs baron. She showed the sudden realisation this woman was having excellently. She showed that Selena knew she was in for a rude awakening as the business her husband built started to crumble around her, and with the business failing, everyone they owed money to started to crawl out of the woodwork. Zeta-Jones portrayed the desperation of Selena, who was the soon-to-be mother of two children, as she did what she had to in order to protect her family.
Then there was Michael Douglas who played the man who was supposed to be heading up the campaign against drugs just as he found out his daughter was an addict herself. Douglas played tested father Robert very well, and I feel that he showed the strength there is between fathers and daughters beautifully.
There were also appearances from Don Cheadle and Dennis Quaid making for what could be referred to as an ensemble cast, which I believe added massive strengths to what Traffic was to become.
All in all, I would say that this is a very good film, however it’s probably not one for fans of action and violence as it relies more upon its story and characters than things exploding and triggers being pulled. For people who like complex storylines, this is definitely one for you. For those of you who like a bit of blood spatter and many bullets flying through the air, you might want to give Traffic a miss.