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Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Probably the most talked-about-before-seeing movie in a long time, director Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic," a complicated look at America's drug trade, which apparently lives up to its high expectations. No pun intended.
It's a big, sprawling complicated epic, layering story upon story with deftly constructed plot twists, and, by all counts, excellent performances. The cast is led by Michael Douglas as Robert Wakefield, the nation's newly appointed drug czar, along with Catherine Zeta-Jones, (Douglas' real-life new bride), Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, Dennis Quaid, Luis Guzman and Erika Christensen.
The two hour 20 minute movie is based on the 1980's British televison six hour miniseries, "Traffik." The only real criticism of the movie is cramming that much action into so little time.
The films shifts locales from the august halls of Washington politics, to border police in Mexico, with much of the action taking place in border town San Diego.
The action starts at a Mexican drug bust where a couple of Tijuana cops find themselves arrested by Mexico's corrupt drug czar. The war then shifts to full throttle where DEA agents Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) and Ray Castro (Luis Guzman) have taken down a big time drug smuggler and handed him immunity in exchange for an even bigger drug lord, Ayala, whose wife Helena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) innocent at this point to her husband's activities, quickly wises up and tries to hold her misbegotten husband's shaky drug empire together.
Now this is just a preview of what really goes on ranging from Pakistan's poppy fields, back to Mexico and, of course, San Diego, with complicated corruption as a steady narrative. Then, there's Wakefield's shock when he discovers his own daughter (Erika Christensen) is an addict.
Some critical folks say Soderbergh may have outsmarted himself this time, taking on too much.Others, most others, say no.
It is written by Stephenb Gaghan, and rated R for pervasive drug content, strong language, violence and some sexuality.
It is playing at Sunny Isle Theaters

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