“The ways of the Lord are subtle.
Traffic won Steven Soderbergh, the Best-Director Academy award.The movie revolves around the drug cartels in Mexico.
Now lets move into the plot.The film begins with Javier Rodrigues(Benicio del Toro) and his partner(named Mannolo) seizing a drug laden truck. They are relieved of their seizure by their General Salazar ,who hires Javier(also plays the honest cop) to locate and arrest Frankie Flowers(Clifton Collins Jr) to wipe out the Tijuana cartel.His arrest follows a horrific torture,during which he spills out the details of the Obregon cartel(opposing the-tijuana cartel) .
Its in between the lines that Ohio state judge Robert Wakefield(Michael Douglas) is re-installed, to head the National Drug Control a.k.a Drug Czar.He soon learns from colleagues and higher ups in the hierarchy that the drug war is unwinnable, but he continues towards the better cause. Back in Cincinnati, his daughter Caroline(Erika Christensen) falls into cocaine addiction.She dissappears from the rehab.And begins prostituting and stealing from her parents to fund her need .
In come, Montel Gordon(Don Cheadle) and Ray Castro(Luiz Guzman) who crack down on high stakes drug dealer Eduardo Ruiz(Miguel Ferrer) posing as a fisherman.Eduardo crumbles under pressure from DEA(Montel and Castro) to reveal the name of Carlos Ayala,husband to Helena( played by Catherine Zeta Jones) .She wants the family life to go on as before and hires Flowers( who was released by Salazar) to assasinate Eduardo.A car bomb is set for Eduardo.The plan is foiled. Flowers is shot by a sniper working for the Obregons.Castro gets the bomb.Helena strikes a deal with Juan Obregon who forgives the debt of Ayala and assasinates Ruiz for cocaine moulded like dolls under high pressure.These were odourless and unidentifiable from other plastic dolls-a perfect cross border transport mode).With Ruiz gone,Ayala is released for lack of evidence.
Meanwhile,Robert finally finds his daughter in the local suburbs after following Seth(Topher Grace) her partner- -in-drugs and friend.He returns to Washington, D.C., to give his prepared speech on a “10-point plan” to combat the war on drugs. In the middle of the speech, he falters, then tells the press that on a war on drugs is a war against many of our own family members, which he cannot endorse. He quits his job and heads home, satisfied with his choice to quit.Together with his wife, he attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings.While Don Cheadle plants a microphone at Ayala’s house to avenge his partner’s(Castro) death.The movie ends with Benicio watching a baseball match in the new stadium of the newly electrified area of the city.
The special aspect of the film is that the characters are unknowlingly involved in plots that affect each other.At one point of time, you have Benicio and Catherine crossing each other at a Zebra crossing.Furthermore, the unadapted light of the Mexican desert sun adds to the cartel plot.Sodenberg uses it with the feel of a handheld-camera…..sometimes behind the driver, sometimes like an on-looker,quivering giving it a very human feel.