Posted by: | March 25, 2009 | Comments Off on Traffic

I have seen Traffic previously, but for some reason I don’t remember having such a difficult time watching it, as I had this time. The subject matter is also very relevant especially today with the drug wars taking place right over the border. I think the film is trying to show how many walks of life are affected by just the demand and supply of drugs. My parents live directly across the border in Arizona and the amount of violence reported is phenomenal. During my time spent in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, many of the kidnappings and violence that took place were surrounded around drugs. What I find especially interesting is the fact that doing any sort of illegal drug recreationally is incredibly taboo amongst the youth there. Rather it seems that families who are poor get caught in the cross-fire because there are very few jobs in the state and so they believe this will help them get by. The demand from the U.S. for drugs is what fuels this fire and Mexico is simply the country that takes the blame because many of the drugs pass through the country from South America, the supplier. When Topher Grace- Seth explains to Michael Douglas the money surrounding drugs, he represents many of the young teens who eventually find themselves corrupted by violence. As the article talked about the border “is in a constant state of transition” (130). It is especially interesting how the border has taken on its own characteristics and given rise to representations used in popular culture. Knowing this, the film is very politically charged and in some ways becomes influential as a carrier of biased knowledge. The article also explains that with the praise of the movie surrounding border “traffic” comes the “hierarchial positioning of the United States” (131) especially with the introduction of new border patrol programs.
There were parts of Traffic, when “Mexico” was filmed taking on a grainy, yellow-tinted, but dream-like state. At moments I thought I was watching a completely different film because of this effect and I question the director’s and cinematographer’s motivations or reasons behind this choice. It seemed to be tied to corruption and violence, tying then, Mexico to a negative representation. In contrast to my realization about Mexico and their use of drugs, the article implies that “Mexico’s lawlessness is directly linked to the moral decay of the family on the U.S. side” (139). Frighteningly, many audience members a part of the U.S. may believe this and as a result fulfill their already pre-conceived conceptions about Mexico. Even Salazar, the federal in charge of Mexico’s border is behind the corruption and therefore, we see no hope for morality among the Mexicans.


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