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Traffic analysis.

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Jonathan Kinas 11-5-03 Traffic analysis Steven Soderbergh directs an astounding versatile study of the U.S. war on drugs in his film Traffic. This is a film, which on the surface, looks like its main theme is the controlling of drug trafficking between the U.S. and Mexico. Indeed this is so but there is also a lot more to the film than just the trafficking of drugs. It is about the corruption of the government, law enforcement, and most importantly the corruption of family. Heartless violence, ambition, greed, hypocrisy, deceit and the ugly results of drug addiction all make their expected appearance in powerful ways. Michael Douglas plays Judge Robert Wakefield who was assigned a new appointment as a drug czar in attempt to capture the major drug dealers and overlords. As the film progresses, you realize that Wakefield did not only have to worry about the drug problems between the U.S. and Mexico, but he had to deal with his sixteen year old daughter and her addiction to heroine. As a figure in society that is against the existence of drugs, it is almost ironic that his little daughter is sitting at home free-basing heroin and crack. Wakefield begins to realize that he not only has to agonize about the problems and well being of society, but he has to devote time and energy into elucidating that his daughter's actions are unacceptable. ...read more.


This goes to show that Wakefield is a stalwart character that still holds the upper hand in the house. Notice was taken that Wakefield was always seen in a suit which is a symbol of power and ranking. His daughter Caroline is always in thin "hippy-like" clothing which are very well suitable for her character. As the door opens, the camera gives a perfect invisible angle demonstrating how drugged up his daughter is. Her eyes are bulging out and she is profusely sweating. You are able to see Wakefield's point of view as he is staring at his little girl. He sees how oblivious she is and aside from his anger, you can tell he is hurt deep down inside. Being able to see through his eyes makes the viewer feel almost as if you are there. Soderbergh uses mise-en-scene by having Caroline wear a white outfit while she's freebasing in a white bathroom. This gives the messages that she is pure at heart and these drugs are ruining her life. She is using them as an escape route and it is tearing her to pieces mentally and physically. This is the first time you see Wakefield alone with his daughter at home and indeed it's a reality check for him. He now has to realize that work isn't everything and if he leaves his child to loneliness, she going to find comfort in the abuse of drugs. ...read more.


She will have what she should have had from the start, which is the love and affection every child needs. As her parents sit next to her in the rehab meeting, the viewer can make the assumption that Caroline has united with her parents. They are sitting there giving her the attention and support that she needed from the start. This is a radical change in composition because we really never saw Caroline together with her parents. Wakefield finally stops focusing so much on everybody else's problems and starts dealing with what should have been his priority from the start, which is looking out in the best interest of his daughter. In the beginning of the film, the distance and lack of relationship was very noticeable between Caroline and her family. In the end, you see how she bonded with her parents and began to pick up on her path that she left off with before she started the drug abuse. Neglect is the main reason children join gangs and do drugs. They need a sense of comfort and attention. Caroline was a perfect example of how drugs exist in all types of families. Rich, poor, American, Hispanic, it doesn't matter. Drugs are everywhere and there will always be a demand in the Western world for any kind of mind (and body) altering substance by people from all walks of life! ...read more.

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