Traffic is a very in-depth and disturbing look at the war on drugs that isn’t going anywhere. Authorities in both Mexico and the US are continually stymied by the need to follow procedure and to respect the rights of those that are still engaged in illegal activities. While the movie might glamorize the ongoing struggle a bit the truth is that it shows a lot of what actually goes on, and it’s quite depressing to think that such things happen and there’s little that can be done about them. It’s all about the money at some point, and a lot of people will gladly kill to keep their cash flow coming in.
It’s a brutal business.
10. A critic complained that the daughter’s perfect high school record would have been impossible while she was abusing drugs.
The director informed the critic that the high school record used in the movie was his own, and that he was abusing drugs at the time too.
9. Two young thieves tried to break into James Brolin’s car one day.
He was still wearing his general’s outfit from the film so they ran, thinking he was actual military.
8. The scene where Michael Douglas was crossing the border wasn’t supposed to make it into the movie.
The director was using a handheld camera, so this is why the shot appears the way it does and why the sound is off. He was also hoping that the border guard wouldn’t address Douglas by name.
7. The teens had to have peppermint dust blown in their faces to appear high.
This was to make their eyes look red and irritated, as though they’d just engaged in drug activity.
6. Most of the leads don’t come that close to one another during the movie.
A few of them were seen in the same shot together but they didn’t interact.
5. Catherine Zeta-Jones was pregnant during filming.
Her part had to be changed to accommodate her condition and they were quite careful with her during filming.
4. During filming Michael Douglas had to chase down a purse snatcher.
He managed to catch the thief and detain them until the police arrived.
3. The West Wing set was used for the shots of the White House.
This was done mostly out of convenience but also because the set is a bit wider than the actual White House and grants more room in which to film. Otherwise it’s a spot on match.
2. During the party scene the teens are snorting dried milk.
That seems like it would be painful after a while. One of the actors actually snorted so much that it made him sick.
1. The only central link in the movie is Mexico.
The cast members from Ayala and Wakefield don’t interact with each other at all. The only connecting location in the movie is Mexico, where the story originates.
Traffic is the kind of movie that you hope isn’t depicting reality in any way but you can’t help but think that some of this stuff, if not most of it, is all too real.