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Film delves into underworld of drug trade

Jan. 19, 2001



In the midst of movies that require no thought on the behalf of the audience, director Steven Soderberg brings the American audience Traffic, a movie that looks at the American-Mexican drug markets and the impact they have on the lives of people in every reach of life. Soderberg uses familiar Hollywood faces in the film, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid and Benjamin Bratt.

To tell a bit about the cast and why each is important might give the movie away, but just to give you a little info on the characters anyway: Zeta-Jones plays the wife of a California businessman who happens to be the distributor for one of the main Mexican drug cartels. Her real-life husband, Douglas, plays an Ohio judge who has just been selected to be the new drug czar for the United States. Del Toro plays a Mexican police officer who wants a better life for himself and the children he sees on a daily basis.

I am a movie buff. I love movies that are different and bring something new to the screen. I felt Traffic was a great example of what makes a movie different. The use of color in this film is key to understanding what is happening, and the use of so many locations shows how drug trafficking is not just an issue along the borders. This movie was very realistic in its portrayal of how drugs effect everyone -- even people that don't have any contact with the drug world. It is also very real in the way it shows families. There's not any sugar coating -- this film shows how American families aren't perfect, just trying.

There are so many aspects of the film that I really enjoyed. I like the attitude Zeta-Jones has when she talks to her husband after he's been arrested. Douglas's daughter is the reasoning behind most of what he does throughout the film, and I liked seeing him portray the father who would do anything to protect his family. Perhaps what I liked the best about the movie is the ending. I'm not going to give it away, but the way the film ends qualifies it in my eyes for the awards it has been nominated for.