Steven Soderbergh followed up his critical and commercial smash ERIN BROCKOVICH with this wildly exhilarating exploration of the complex, multilayered international drug problem. The film tells three seemingly disparate stories that loosely intersect and overlap, unfurling at a frantic, relentless pace. In the first, a well-intentioned Mexican police officer, Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro), comes face-to-face with the hypocrisy and hopelessness of his situation after he learns that his superior, General Salazar (Tomas Milian), isn't the law-abiding officer he claims to be. In the second, Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas), a conservative Supreme Court judge from Ohio, takes a position as the president's new drug czar. What he doesn't realize is that his teenage daughter, Caroline (Erika Christensen), is falling prey to the dangerous narcotics that he has been hired to eradicate. In the third section, federal agents Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) and Ray Castro (Luis Guzmán) are baby-sitting Eduardo Ruiz (Miguel Ferrer), a drug smuggler who is about to testify against the wealthy Carlos Ayala (Steven Bauer). When Ayala's pregnant wife, Helena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), learns of her husband's illegal activities, she takes her family's future into her own hands. Soderbergh's bold decision to photograph the film using three strikingly different visual schemes adds even greater punch to TRAFFIC, which stands firmly as one of 2000's most stirring motion picture events.
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Ranked #3 in Entertainment Weekly's "Owen Gleiberman's BEST MOVIES OF 2000"
Entertainment Weekly - Owen Gleiberman (12/22/2000)
"...Multi-layered plotting and plenty of pleasing technical flourishes....Douglas is superb..." -- 4 out of 5 stars
Total Film - Andy Lowe (02/01/2001)
"...Its vigorous, unjaded rush of imagery and story makes for an exciting visual experience..."
Sight and Sound - Andrew O'Hehir (02/01/2001)
"...Soderbergh deftly weaves together four stories depicting the causes and effects of the illegal drug trade..."
Box Office - Jordan Reed (02/01/2001)
"...The whole thing feels remarkably fresh, vibrant and new....The movie is adult, intelligent, sweeping yet intimate, nail-bitingly suspenseful, buoyed by an impeccable, uniformly powerhouse cast, and it provides a real perspective on a real issue..."
Premiere - Glenn Kenny (02/01/2001)
"...A mosaic of heightened reality....A picture fascinating in its complexit....The technical contributions are adroit and stylish..."
Hollywood Reporter - Kirk Honeycutt (12/12/2000)
"...Complex and ambitious....Yet another indication of how accomplished a filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has become..."
Los Angeles Times - Kenneth Turan (12/27/2001)
"...A consistently credible drama..." -- 3 out of 4 stars
USA Today - Mike Clark (12/27/2000)
"Steven Soderbergh's great, despairing squall of a film infuses epic cinematic form with jittery new rhythms and a fresh, acid-washed palette....The performances, by an ensemble from which not a false note issues, have the clarity and force of pithy instrumental solos insistently piercing through a dense cacaphony..."
New York Times - Stephen Holden (12/27/2000)