|By Mira Harber
This is one
scary movie. No, it's not Friday the 13th part 27; it's Traffic,
a film about the U.S. war on drugs. This is one bleak, uncompromising,
brutal and very truthful movie. An all-star cast is assembled, featuring
stories that begin as far apart as San Diego, Cincinnati, Washington, and
Say No" just isn't working and here we see how the drug trade between two
rapidly disappearing borders does work. It is swift, cruel and violent.
This is a game of BIG money and life is cheap when this much money is at
The film opens
with two Mexican policemen staking out a major shipment of cocaine. The
heart and soul of this film is without a doubt Benicio del Toro. You've
seen him before in The Usual Suspects, Living & Dying in Las Vegas
and Swimming with Sharks. Here he plays a magnificent role as an honest
(one of the few) Mexican policemen. The police in Mexico are said to be
involved in 'free enterprise' as opposed to keeping the law. Except in
the case of Benecio del Toro. He speaks volumes without having to say a
lot. His body language and eyes are extraordinarily expressive. To me,
he makes the movie. He is totally convincing in this gritty and complex
role, and if he doesn't win an Oscar for this, it is a crime!!!
We have the drug trade between
Mexico and the U.S. and we see the lives of the police/drug traffickers
and US law enforcement all converging on the border town of Tijuana.
Douglas plays the newly appointed U.S. Drug Czar in the war against drugs.
Only problem is, he's never home, and his A+, student, daughter is a drug
addict herself, freebasing cocaine and throwing an over-dosing fellow student
out the car door at a hospital entrance as she attempts to get away without
being seen.Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the San Diego society, trophy wife
of a 'businessman' who is suddenly arrested for drug trafficking. She never
really bothered to find out what kind of 'business' her husband was in,
but now that she knows, she adapts quickly. Her survival skills are sharply
police (DEA) are wonderful, particularly Don Cheadle. They are involved
in several of the stories, including the one where a medium size drug lord,
played by Miguel Ferrer, is preparing to testify against the San Diego
these stories come to fruition in a sometimes violent, often brutal and
always truthful way. This movie is frightening. It raises a lot of serious
questions about drugs, the drug trade, borders - or lack of them now that
NAFTA is in full force, money and life. It isn't simple and doesn’t insult
us with the idiotic "Just Say No" of former US administrations. It is hard
and cold. The questions are serious, and there are no easy answers.
it might possibly win as best film at these year's Oscars as well. If you
haven't seen it already, go see Traffic.