Baslow had occasion to see Steven Soderbergh's Traffic over the weekend. He was impressed. Baslow especially appreciates films which leave him with a lot of things to think about. He found Traffic most rewarding in this respect.
There were, to be sure, a few things Baslow would have preferred to have seen handled differently. These, however, would have required the film to be even longer than it is, longer than many moviegoers would have found tolerable. Baslow imagines that there must have been some painful editing sessions. He hopes that excised material has been preserved and that we will be allowed to see some of it when the DVD is issued.
One of the things that interested Baslow (which he has not seen mentioned very prominently elsewhere) is Soderbergh's use of couples to tell his story. Think of the couples (in the broad sense) we get to know: Monty and his partner Ray, Javier and his partner Manolo, Robert and Barbara Wakefield, Caroline Wakefield and Seth Abrahams, Helena and Carlos Ayala, Manolo and Ana Sanchez (significantly, never seen together). These pairings allow Soderbergh to point out, by contrast, all the loyalties and treacheries, affections and animosities, temptations and fidelities, which collectively undergird the use, sale, and combatting of drugs.
Something to think about.
The links below offer a sampling of reviews available on the Web.
Todd McCarthy, Variety
Tor Thorsen, Reel.com
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
Jay Carr, Boston Globe
Paul Clinton, CNN.com
Charles Taylor, Salon
Bill O'Driscoll, Pittsburgh City Paper (feels the film reflects pernicious racial attitudes)
Kevin Maynard, Mr. Showbiz
Hap Erstein, Access Atlanta (feels the film, while good, is overrated)