The Criterion Collection has released Soderbergh’s masterpiece Traffic on Blu-ray. The critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning film weaves together three stories about different aspects of America’s War on Drugs.
Michael Douglas plays Ohio judge Robert Wakefield, who is appointed as the drug czar. He is ready to fight the war hard and win it, but he has no idea the size and scope of the battlefield, which is why he is surprised to discover his home is in occupied territory. In San Diego, Catherine Zeta-Jones lives a wealthy, comfortable lifestyle and is completely unaware that it is financed by her husband’s drug-smuggling until he is taken away from their home in handcuffs by the DEA. Having to deal with maxxed out credit cards, tax liens, and being shunned by her friends would be a tough ordeal for any woman, but when the life of her young child is threatened by men her husband owes $3 million to, she has to make hard choices she never considered before. In Mexico, Benicio Del Toro is a state policeman who along with his partner discovers that the work to take down the Obregon brothers’ drug cartel wasn’t to make the streets of Tijuana safer, but to eliminate competition. A review of the film can be found here.
The Blu-ray has been given a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer, supervised and approved by Soderbergh and displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. During the production, he used different color palettes and film stocks for the separate locations. Mexico has a golden-brown hue and the increased film grain borders on being obtrusive. Some Ohio interiors are tinted blue. When colors are allowed to appear in their natural state, they are bright and vibrant. Light sources are occasionally blown out, affecting the images. Object detail and texture are sharp and well defined.