Traffic: An Important Hyperlink Movie*

         Traffic, a film that was made in 2000, is by far the best example I could possibly analyze in a global context. It is one of my all time favorite films because I can watch it numerous times and still find intricacies in the plot that I might not have known were there. It raises important issues concerning the intricacies of the illegal drug trade, mostly between Mexico and the United States. This film won several Academy Awards and was highly praised by critics as being an important film for all Americans to see.

         In a time when America seems to be losing the “war on drugs,” Traffic helped to raise awareness of how the global drug trade operates. It also helped to reveal how the drug war creates high levels of violence and as well as creating a black market, where illicit trade continues to flourish. I think this film should be appreciated for the way that it addresses the issues surrounding the drug trade. In this way it becomes a great counterbalance to films that glorify violence and drug use.

         The main character in the film, Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas), has a line near the end of the film that really drives it home; “If there is a war on drugs, then many of our family members are the enemy. And I don't know how you wage war on your own family.” I think this is an important consideration for American viewers, as well as viewers in other countries that are affected by the drug war.

         Written by Stephen Gaghan and directed by Steven Soderberg, Traffic is a film that falls into a genre known as “hyperlink movies.” Roger Ebert popularized the term when reviewing the film Syrianna. He describes hyperlink cinema as “films where the characters or action reside in separate stories, but a connection or influence between those disparate stories is slowly revealed to the audience” (Ebert, “Syrianna”; Ebert, “Babel”).

Works Cited

Ebert, Roger. “Syrianna.” Reviews. 25 July 2009.

(2)Ebert, Roger. “Babel.” Reviews. Reviews. 2 Aug. 2007.

Brandon Boyd

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