Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Canyon
|Year Of Production||2000|
|Running Time||141:03 (Case: 124)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (88:12)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Steven Soderbergh|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Benicio Del Toro
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
For a film that uses several different visual styles as devices to separate the storylines, we get a magnificent transfer that is consistent across the styles. There is some noticeable differences in the Mexican scenes in relation to grain and contrast but this is obviously the intention of the director.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 it is also enhanced for 16x9 televisions.
Sharpness is spot-on with no traces of edge enhancement. Shadow detail is also exemplary with deep solid blacks and no loss of detail in the few darker scenes that are present. There is only minor grain which is most apparent during the Mexican scenes where the film was overexposed and given a raw and grittier feel. There is no low level noise.
Colours play a major and very important role in this film as a device used to indicate the different storylines. The Mexican scenes are shot with high contrast and a yellow tint, providing a raw, gritty, dirty, and hot feel to them. These are displayed superbly with no oversaturation or bleeding problems. The DEA drug bust scenes are shot with a more conventional colour palette and these are also well-rendered. The scenes following Michael Douglas' character Wakefield and his daughter are shown with a blue tint. These provide a cold, sterile feel to the 'white collar' side of the drug problem.
No MPEG artefacts were noticed and film-to-video artefacts were limited to two very minor instances. I noticed very minor aliasing on the judge's bench at 5:58 and a moire effect on a wire fence at 110:37. Film artefacts were limited to the usual handful of flecks and spots, most noticeable in the high contrast Mexican scenes. None of these are overly obtrusive.
Only one set of subtitles are present, these being English for the Hearing Impaired (the sort that place the caption over the person that is talking). They appeared to be quite accurate. The scenes shot in Mexico feature mostly Spanish dialogue. The English subtitles (not hearing impaired) are permanently on during these scenes.
Traffic is presented on a single-sided, dual-layered disc with RSDL formatting. The layer change occurs at 88:12 at the end of a scene with Catherine Zeta-Jones' character pausing quite noticeably in a close-up, making this merely an average layer change.
Traffic has been given quite an amazing soundtrack given the fact that much of it comes through the centre speaker. Don't be dissuaded by this, as the way it has been executed certainly complements the vision in a very special way.
We only get one soundtrack on this disc, that being a very fine 448 Kb/s English Dolby Digital 5.1 effort that is quite unlike anything I have experienced before.
Dialogue is very focused on the centre channel. The dialogue is highly prominent at all times in the soundstage with most of the ambient background sounds also emanating from the centre channel. It is this prominence of the dialogue and the centre channel use that lends the documentary feel to the film. The other speakers are used for the score which is credited to Cliff Martinez. It is a score that you instantly notice since it dominates the left/right speakers. It is highly effective at times especially during the scenes where Wakefield is searching for his daughter through the streets.
There is only minimal surround channel use.
For a film that has few explosions or many of the other crash-boom-bang type of effects, Traffic has some of the best subwoofer use I have experienced for a while. Generally used to support the score, it comes into its own during the scenes where Robert Wakefield is searching for his daughter (92:10-92:35) where it is used to provide a deep throb that sounds much like a heartbeat.
|Surround Channel Use|
The Region 1 disc misses out on;
Ours is certainly a bare-bones effort. I'm tempted to favour the Region 1 disc, but I really don't feel that the extras would justify the extra price and NTSC quality. I'll concede a draw on this.
I really didn't know what to expect when I started to watch Traffic for the first time. I had heard it contained separate storylines and figured I would need to watch closely in case I lost the plot and then couldn't claim I was intelligent enough to understand it. My concern was short-lived, as this is an eloquently related story that doesn't resort to cheap thrills to maintain interest and uses smart production techniques to keep the storylines separated. It highlights the wide-reaching and near-impossible effort to curb the drug problem worldwide without taking a moralistic sermon approach. Perhaps the defining moment is when the 'Drug Czar' Robert Wakefield gets his staff to think outside the box and come up with some solutions to the drug problem. He states 'the dam is open for new ideas'...the response - complete silence...
The video and audio are superb. The audio in particular is highly original.
The extras are virtually non-existent but this is still a must-see film.
|DVD||Toshiba 1200, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|