8:00 PM, 2nd August, 2001
In Mexico City, a cop is caught in the politically sanctioned drug trade. In Washington, a retiring judge is offered the position of US Drug Czar. In LA, a rich socialite is shocked when her husband is arrested on charges of drug trafficking. As these three stories play out, and overlap, we get an idea of how decisions that are matters of expediency for one person can become matters of life and death for another.
Traffic is a fairly unique American film for this era, one in which the politics and the ideas are, to a certain extent, more important than the characters. This is not to say that they're not 3 dimensional, just that we're not necessarily manipulated into overly sympathising with any of them. For some people, this is going to make the film distancing. For me, it added to the documentary-like realism. Sure, the film uses well-known actors like Douglas, Zeta-Jones and Quaid, but they manage to disappear into their roles effectively.
This is not an easygoing film, but it's an effective one, well worth the effort.