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Traffic (2001)

NOTE: These commentaries are only available on the Criterion Collection release of Traffic; the original DVD release had no commentaries.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Stephen Gaghan Rating:7.9/10 (22 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by The Cubist on March 9th, 2006:Find all reviews by The Cubist
Soderbergh, with his trademark dry, sardonic wit, touches upon how he achieved the various looks of the movie. He isn’t afraid to go into the technical aspects of the filmmaking process as he’s also Traffic’s cinematographer but does so in an accessible way. He and Gaghan talk about how the screenplay evolved with the screenwriter talking about where the characters came from. Not surprisingly, Soderbergh dominates the track with some amusing anecdotes about filming in this commentary jam-packed with smart observations.
Reviewed by Bickle, T. on May 19th, 2009:Find all reviews by Bickle, T.
A fantastic track. Does this terrific film a great justice. Soderbergh is a great voice to watch a movie to (see “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, “The Graduate”, “The Limey”, etc.)
Reviewed by Cinecdoche on May 21st, 2009:Find all reviews by Cinecdoche
You'd be hard pressed to spend your cinema time with two smarter individuals. Gaghan here (who won the Academy Award) is nakedly honest about his own personal relationship with addiction and where it informs the script. Soderbergh still has such an independent point of view its refreshing to hear how he makes scenes work on a budget and the actors input on a daily basis. This commentary is a great give-n-take about a smart film, its inspirations and executions down to the real life politicians themselves in the scenes.
Reviewed by frankasu03 on October 13th, 2012:Find all reviews by frankasu03
Tremendous track. The director (and psedonymous cinematographer) takes listeners to film school. "The Battle of Algiers," "Sorcerer," and Vilmos Zsigmond tricks. All manner of film arcana are up for discussion. The writer chimes in amiably to discuss the real life counterparts from Traffic. Brilliant track.
Reviewed by grimjack on September 6th, 2018:Find all reviews by grimjack
Soderbergh commentaries are always the most *educational* in terms of how to make a film, which techniques work, and why. Here, he the writer, and sort-of the director of photography (Soderbergh under a pseudonym) break down so much of the production.

But most interesting to even the non-technical are the scenes that were cut, various back stories, inspirations, fights they had to make the film, things that went wrong as well as right, alternate ideas, and basically everything a great commentary should have, but seldom does.
Commentary 2: Producers Laura Bickford, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, and consultants Tim Golden and Craig Chretien Rating:6.8/10 (14 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by The Cubist on March 9th, 2006:Find all reviews by The Cubist
Golden talks about how the film’s opening drug bust in Mexico was based on an actual event told to him by a Mexican police officer. He also points out which characters are based on real people and gives their backstories. Bickford and the other producers tend to speak about the film’s production history. Chretien was a high-ranking federal agent for the DEA and talks about the authenticity of the bungled San Diego bust scene. This is a very informative track with the consultants providing the most fascinating material.
Commentary 3: Composer Cliff Martinez Rating:5.4/10 (11 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by reidca on January 28th, 2008:Find all reviews by reidca
Geek hat goes on now. This track is hardcore in a good way. Cliff Martinez is the composer and he's scored all of Soderbergh's films and he was the drummer for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers for 10 years. He roped in some unknown's for the score including Herbie Hancock, Peppers bassist Flea plus he used some Brian Eno in the score. Oh, and you get the entire score in 5.1. In fact, only the music for Traffic was 5.1, the rest of it was mixed in mono (?). Really great listen, talks about Weather Report, Eno and Phillip Glass and the Heat score as major influences. Talks about having to upgrade equipment after each movie, using bongos and going to Hancock's LA studio at midnight to record because he had a full schedule and was about to go on tour. Highly recommended listen. Geek hat off.