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I know that I am always bad mouthing Baton Rouge but here is one good thing, Steve Soderbergh. Yes, the director of Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Out of Sight, and Sex, Lies and Videotape was born and raised right here in Baton Rouge.  But apparently, he has seen a wider world since leaving town. I have never heard so many discussions in a movie theatre, as well as cries of surprise, as I heard here tonight while watching Traffic.  Actually, despite the reaction of the local citizens, there isn't much new in the content and plot of Traffic.  But it is put together in such a way as to make it a powerful and compelling story.  To tell this story of drug trafficking from Mexico, Soderbergh weaves together three separate but connected subplots.  Subplot #1 is set in Tijuana where two local cops (Benicio Del Toro and Jacob Vargas) get involved in a war between two drug cartels and a general (Tomas Milian).  Subplot #2 is set in San Diego where the drugs from Mexico arrive. The main importer (Steve Bauer) and his right-hand man (Miguel Ferrer) are arrested by a couple of  DEA agents (Don Cheadle and Luis Guzman) shattering the life of the unsuspecting wife of the importer (Catherine Zeta-Jones).  Meanwhile, Subplot #3 is set in Cincinnati and Washington, DC where a Judge (Michael Douglas) is named Drug Czar for the United States.  As he begins his fight against the drug trade, he discovers that his daughter (Erika Christensen) is hooked on Cocaine and Heroin.  The story constantly revolves between the three subplots as they become more and more entwined. You can tell which subplot you are in immediately because the Mexican footage looks like it was shot with a super-8 camera through a yellow filter, and the Cincinnati story is shot through a blue filter.  Anyway, that's how it looked to me.  I guess that's why they refer to this film as experimental.  All of the subplots are ripped from the headlines and they aren't even recent headlines. But it is very good and as we see all the characters go into a bit of a death spiral, it makes this a difficult film to watch. The cast is excellent and, in addition to those already mentioned, watch for Amy Irving, Peter Riegert, Benjamin Bratt, Dennis Quaid, Albert Finney and James Brolin.  Several real politicians, including Orrin Hatch and Barbara Boxer, make cameos as themselves adding to the realistic style of Traffic.  Among the cast, the standout is definitely Del Toro. He is best known previously for a part in The Usual Suspects but here he steals the film as an honest cop trying to keep his head above water in the murky world of Tijuana.  It was also nice to see Miguel Ferrer who is the son of Mel Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney which makes him George Clooney's cousin. I have loved him since I saw him on Twin Peaks. Zeta-Jones is excellent as the wife who puts her life back together by becoming a drug kingpin and so is Christensen as the drug-addled daughter of Douglas.  Douglas, himself, is a bit too histrionic in his role as the Drug Czar.  My only complaint is that everything is a bit predictable and you can see every plot development a mile away.  But it's definitely different and worth seeing just for Del Toro's performance.