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'Traffic: The Miniseries' **** 030205
The Work = ****
The American miniseries manages to emulate the style of the film while still being fresh and taking the story in a completely different direction. The film is presented as several intertwining stories involving drugs, their use and their sales. In this miniseries drugs are only part of the equation. Made in a post 9/11 America, the series uses the drug trade (this time in Afghanistan) as a back drop but also looks at the trade of people and weapons.
Elias Koteas and Martin Donovan play DEA agents in Afghanistan struggling to get a handle on the drug market. Koteas especially, has a weary look that speaks for the progress the DEA is making in the country. Back in the States another story ark follows Kotea's wife and young son, struggling to be a family with a father who exists only over the phone. Another arc involves a father and son in the shipping business and their ties to local crime organizations. Yet another arc shows an illegal immigrant struggling to work and bring his family to America.
By the end of 'Traffic' all the stories had at least a loose connection and still remained strong in their own right. Without giving anything away I can say that this was a moving and at times extremely sad film that looked at trafficking and what it is and who it affects with a broad lens. The Koteas arc seems like the center (which I guess has a similarity to Bennicio Del Torro's in the film version) and really holds this series together.
'Traffic: The Miniseries' did have a few moments that I felt were missteps and does slow down at points. I should mention that since this was filmed as a miniseries it has a long running time so you may not get through it all in one sitting. Fortunately, it has a natural cliff-hanger type stopping point in the middle that made itching to watch more. The first half of the series is on one DVD and the second is on another.
DVD = ***
All together = ****
'Traffic: The Miniseries' Links:
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