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Steven Soderbergh followed up his critical and commercial smash ERIN BROCKOVICH with this wildly exhilarating exploration of the complex, multilayered international drug problem. The film tells three seemingly disparate stories that loosely intersect and overlap, unfurling at a frantic, relentless pace. In the first, a well-intentioned Mexican police officer, Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro), comes face-to-face with the hypocrisy and hopelessness of his situation after he learns that his superior, General Salazar (Tomas Milian), isn't the law-abiding officer he claims to be. In the second, Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas), a conservative Supreme Court judge from Ohio, takes a position as the president's new drug czar. What he doesn't realize is that his teenage daughter, Caroline (Erika Christensen), is falling prey to the dangerous narcotics that he has been hired to eradicate. In the third section, federal agents Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) and Ray Castro (Luis Guzman) are baby-sitting Eduardo Ruiz (Miguel Ferrer), a drug smuggler who is about to testify against the wealthy Carlos Ayala (Steven Bauer). When Ayala's pregnant wife, Helena (Catherine Zeta-Jones), learns of her husband's illegal activities, she takes her family's future into her own hands. Soderbergh's bold decision to photograph the film using three strikingly different visual schemes adds even greater punch to TRAFFIC, which stands firmly as one of 2000's most stirring motion picture events.
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