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Thursday, January 31, 2013

TRAFFIC (2000)

Michael Douglas as Judge Wakefield













TRAFFIC (2000). Director: Steven Soderbergh.

Compressing a long BBC mini-series [Traffik] into a two and a half hour movie, this feature deals with different aspects of the drug traffic, from Mexican cops and dealers, to American drug lords and narcs, to a Judge or "drug czar," investigating the problem who discovers his own daughter is an addict. Michael Douglas is the judge; Steven Bauer is the businessman who turns out to run a drug cartel, and Catherine Zeta-Jones is his initially unknowing wife who ultimately proves as ruthless as he is, wanting to take out a witness played by Miguel Ferrer. Others in the cast include James Brolin [The Car], Albert Finney [Tom Jones], Dennis Quaid [Legion], Benicio Del Toro [The Wolfman/2010] , and Don Cheadle [Iron Man 2] as a cop. The acting is okay and sometimes better than that, but the movie is disjointed [you get a sense that an awful lot was left on the cutting room floor] and badly directed. The movie holds the attention but it should be riveting and it isn't. Worse, some of the developments stretch credulity; certainly there is enough drama in the subject without contriving improbable sequences, such as the judge hitting the streets instead of calling the cops to find his daughter? This is not great movie-making by any stretch of the imagination.

Verdict: A movie on this subject shouldn't be so blah. **.

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