A modern day look at America's war on drugs told through four interconnected stories. A conservative politician is made the US drug czar and learns that his daughter is an addict. A trophy wife struggles to save her husband's drug business, while two DEA agents protect a witness. In Mexico, a corrupt, yet dedicated cop struggles with his conscience. 


Various stories about America`s war on drugs unfold in the parallel segments of Traffic. While the President appoints an Ohio supreme court judge to chair a new assault on drug-smugglers and dealers, at ground level Drug Agency undercover cops succeed in arresting a San Diego dealer with the evidence given to them by a middle-level operative - and the informer is now in danger of his life. And, meanwhile, across the border in Mexico, honest cops fight increasingly compromised battles against overwhelming odds....

Traffic, based on a British TV series, is an ambitious film from Steven Soderberg, but I'm not sure it's quite up to all the advance hype. It's on fairly firm ground when it deals with the sad fact that cocaine has become accepted as a recreational drug in American society, used by affluent people who barely give a thought to the death and destruction their habit brings in its wake.

The scenes involving Caroline (Erika Christensen) the addicted daughter of the Judge (Michael Douglas), carry a solid charge of irony. On the other hand, Catherine Zeta Jones is fairly unconvincing as the wife of the San Diego dealer who goes from being a society woman ignorant of her husband's source of funds to a ruthless gang leader in what seems like a matter of days. And, despite the rather crude use of colour to make it clear which strand of the story we`re following, I found much of it confusing. Plus, there`s more than a whiff of Mexican bashing in what at times seems like a surprisingly naive film. I'm not completely sold by Traffic.

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2 hours 27 min