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Traffic (mini series)

This six-hour (that's TV hours, each of which equals 44 real minutes) mini series has a similar structure as the same-titled Soderbergh movie though it is not as well executed. (I've not seen the original BBC mini series Traffik which kicked off the remake cycle.) The scripting and acting is variable, though there are some performers who acquit themselves decently - Mary McCormack or Belinda Metz for instance inhabit their roles immediately; others take a few hours to grow into their parts.

The placement of climaxes and flashbacks make it appear like it was originally composed as six one hour episodes, but apparently it was shown as three two hour installments in the US.

The intercutting between the three plot strands in the first hour is so frantic that none of the scenes really have a chance to blossom. In subsequent episodes the pace is slowed down, or the intercutting unified by music; both techniques help.

In the fourth hour the three threads converge, but do so in a way that is silly and trendy (ie eschewing the drug story in favour of a terrorism threat). Admittedly, the setup for this twist is planted in the first scenes. From this point on impossible deux ex machinas appear and characters do dumb things for the sake of the plot.

In fact, I'd argue that the entire premise of the series is subverted in the fourth hour. It stops being a procedural account of drug trafficking and turns into 24, though it never gets as hyperbolic as 24. Once we enter this action-thriller world many of the plot twists become predictable. There is an attempt to pull the series back to its original concept in the last hour though which stops it from getting ridiculous.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 14, 2005 6:06 PM.

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