Box art for Traffic

Traffic

drama


It's the high-stakes, high-risk world of the drug trade as seen through a well-blended mix of interrelated stories.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    92%
  • Audience Score
    85%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
5 out of 5
Language
5 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
Sex
5 out of 5
Violence
5 out of 5

Tons of drug use, violence, and depressing stories.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that drug abuse, drug smuggling, and the United States' war on drugs are the central themes of Traffic, a movie that condemns instead of glamorizes drugs yet graphically shows scenes of users doing drugs and drug-related violence. The former is perhaps most disturbing in several scenes of teenagers having afterschool parties in their parent-less homes, smoking pot, drinking, taking pills and (eventually) smoking heroin. One teen has an overdose and stops breathing. Two young characters eventually take to shooting heroin; all of this is graphically depicted onscreen. In addition to the disturbing sexual scenes there are numerous scenes of brutal, gory violence: point-blank shootings, torture, execution-style murder, a scary guy threatens a pregnant woman with the murder of her young child, and so on. Traffic is very strong stuff and may make drugs look appealing to teens; watch with kids if they watch at all.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about drugs, both their own views on individual drug use and the impact that the drug business has on the community and the country. Did the movie make you feel differently about the role that illegal drugs play in the lives of people around us? When the judge asks the staff for new ideas, the response is silence. What should the next person to hold the anti-drug czar job do?
  • What is the effect of the violence in this film? Does it underscore the film's messages or is it gratuitous?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    92%
    reviews counted: 20
    see all Traffic reviews
  • Audience

    85%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: The promise of Sex, Lies, and Videotape has been fulfilled.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Friday, April 27, 2007

Fresh: With Traffic, his most ambitious and complex film to date, Soderbergh again proves himself one of our most inventive filmmakers.

- Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, January 5, 2001

Fresh: Smart, risky entertainment.

- Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle, Friday, January 5, 2001

Audience Reviews

4 stars

A dark, unsettling, informative story interweaving three different casts of characters on how the drug trade effects all hierarchies and cultures. Steven Soderbergh has constructed a near-masterpiece of a film and one of the best films about drugs ever. The way he connects all three stories, and details his characters and gives each one many dimensions is simply stunning. The color schemes he uses for each story is definitely different but effective, and the way he concludes each one is impressive. There are some parts that feel a little Hollywoodized, but asides from these brief instances, this is a near-flawless film that deserves to be seen by anyone interested in the drug trade and just how deadly it is in all of society.

- fb619846742, Wednesday, April 3, 2013

4 stars

A dark, unsettling, informative story interweaving three different casts of characters on how the drug trade effects all hierarchies and cultures. Steven Soderbergh has constructed a near-masterpiece of a film and one of the best films about drugs ever. The way he connects all three stories, and details his characters and gives each one many dimensions is simply stunning. The color schemes he uses for each story is definitely different but effective, and the way he concludes each one is impressive. There are some parts that feel a little Hollywoodized, but asides from these brief instances, this is a near-flawless film that deserves to be seen by anyone interested in the drug trade and just how deadly it is in all of society.

- fb619846742, Wednesday, April 3, 2013

3 stars

An always engaging and expertly edited multi-character drama that presents a grim portrait about the war on drugs and understands that there are no easy solutions for this complex problem. But Soderbergh also exaggerates in his blatantly unsubtle, didactic photography.

- blacksheepboy, Sunday, August 11, 2013