Thu | Oct 18, 2018

‘Traffik’- Disturbingly Dumb

Published:Monday | May 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy/Gleaner Writer
This image, released by Codeblack Films, shows Omar Epps (left) and Paula Patton in a scene from ‘Traffik’.

There's a lot you can tell about a movie in the first five minutes. You can get to know it's characters, and the premise. The first five minutes are an extremely useful and telling part of a movie - it's where a film establishes tone, stakes, and gives the viewer an inkling of what they can expect. Sometimes they play right into those expectations. Sometimes they turn them on their head. In the case of Traffik, after the first five minutes, I could tell this was one of the worst pictures of the year.

The story is simple. Young and in love, Brea and John seek a weekend getaway to celebrate her birthday, and perhaps take her mind off life's 'unpleasantness'. Brea, played by Paula Patton, has just lost her job as a reporter, but thankfully John, played by Omar Epps, is the perfect man - who knows just what she needs to make it all better. After all, this is the woman he intends to marry.

As quaint as that sounds, it's also painfully dull. The main characters don't seem so much in love as they tell you about it. Never once does Brea or John come across as real people - which makes it hard to care for them when their dream weekend takes a turn for the worse, courtesy of a local biker gang that deals in human trafficking.

That's no easy subject to tackle in a film, and stupendously, Traffik never ceases to amaze at how irresponsibly it chooses to do it. Taken is more of a video game than a movie, and even that had a more insightful grasp on the issue.

To Traffik's credit, it is a movie that goes to dark places you wouldn't expect, but the road to get there is fraught with bad acting and shoddy editing. Traffik is as entertaining as sitting in literal traffic - waiting for something to happen, only to be disappointed by the result. The only relief comes when it's all over.

Rating: Read a book