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Analytical Look at "traffic" and the U.S. War on Drugs

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Essay title: Analytical Look at "traffic" and the U.S. War on Drugs

How effective is the United States war on drugs? This a question that Traffic, directed by Steven Soderbergh, cracks wide open. Traffic follows three story lines and depicts the powerful force that is drugs. Robert Wakefield is the recently appointed drug czar who finds out his daughter Caroline is a drug addict. Javier Rodriguez is a cop in Mexico who is attempting his own war on drugs in the corrupt world of Mexican drug enforcement. Helena Ayala is a woman who has just recently found out about her husbands’ drug business when he was arrested in her home. Traffic shows the how the complex problem of drug control effects people of all walks of life, no matter how far removed they may think they are.

In Traffic one theme is made crystal clear, we are all affected by drugs. Every single person rich or poor, educated or not can have their life turned upside down by drugs. The effect doesn’t stop just at the user and the dealer, it stretches out to everyone. Robert Wakefield is a perfect example that anyone can be affected. He lives in suburbia where he believes he and his family are far from the reaches of the drug problems the rest of the world is facing. While Robert is giving speeches about the “War on Drugs” and what his plans are to step it up, his daughter is at home smoking crack. The Wakefield’s story is the directors’ clearest emotional appeal. He humanizes the user and their family as Robert struggles to pull his daughter from the junkie path she is on. One line from Traffic that really hit this point home was when Robert said, “If there is a war on drugs than many of our family members are the enemy. And I don’t know how to wage war on your own family.”

Another really strong theme is that all people can be changed by the circumstances that they face. Helena Ayala is surprised and devastated to find out that the cushy life she lives in California has been paid for by her husbands’ drug business. She is ignorant to what her husband has been doing, but when faced by what she sees as no other option, resorts to taking part in her husbands business. The director

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