Traffic at 20: Steven Soderbergh’s bold and blistering drugs drama

The Oscar-winner’s sprawling ensemble drama was rightfully awarded and praised for its difficult and dour look at an unwinnable war

There’s a scene in the middle of Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic where Robert Wakefield (Michael Douglas), a conservative judge recently appointed to “drug czar” by the president, meets with Gen Arturo Salazar (Tomas Milian), who he’s been led to believe is his Mexican equivalent. They talk about efforts to disrupt the Tijuana cartel, led by the Obregón brothers, but at this point we know that Salazar is aligned with the Juarez cartel and wants to use whatever resources he can to wipe out the competition. Wakefield then asks Salazar about the treatment of addiction, and the mask slips a little.

Related: Requiem for a Dream at 20: Aronofsky’s nightmare still haunts

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