Accurate portrayal of club culture, the highs and the lows5/10
Making a film about the 'chemical generation', those who live for the weekend, must have been a very hard enterprise. It would have to accurately reflect the lives and experiences of 'clubbers' and also appeal to a wider audience. Human Traffic just about achieves that.
It is certainly spot on in with it's observations and in it's accuracy. It's obvious the filmmakers have 'been there and done it'. If you are or were once like the people in this film, than there is so much to relate it. It's all there, often depicted humorously but not condescendingly. The fake euphoria of being on 'E'["in the end ,I just want to be happy, yeah ,that's it.....hang on, what the **** was I talking about?"]. The monged conversation at 4 am which seems deep and meaningful but is basically rubbish [ Star Wars being about drugs!]and gets more and more incoherent. Exchanging pleasantries with someone you only see in pubs and clubs and really can't stand. 'Coming up' suddenly at the same time as someone else and mumbling to each other what you're 'on' at the speed of light. Reminiscing how it was better in the 'old days' and is now too commercial and widespread. Doing it all for the first time and going off with a bunch of dodgy geezers who are suddenly your best mates. The thrill of finding the after party. The depressing, inexorable sense of returning to the reality.
The film's attitude to drugs is commendable, drug taking is simply something the characters do, and that's all. Nobody dies or is seriously ill ,and yet there is a sense that it doesn't really lead anywhere. "After all ,we'll not going to be doing this for ever, are we" says one character at the end.
The film falters a little when depicting the lives of it's protagonists. For many scenes, director Justin Kerrigan uses a kind of 'heightened reality', for instance in a scene when a character comments on how the workers in a fast food place are like robots and for a moment they 'become' actual robots. This approach does not always work, and it's a shame since the characters are all the sort you could expect to run into on a Friday night. We do care a bit about their respective lives and problems, but we don't really get to know the female characters properly, and what is really the main thrust of the plot, the blossoming romance between two of the main protagonists, is dwelled on too much and is somehow unconvincing,if sometimes quite sweet. The acting is generally OK if not great.
Human Traffic is not as important a film as, say, Trainspotting, which despite being about heroin addicts seemed to speak to a generation. Nonetheless, it's a truthful depiction of an element of society which films and TV either ignore or condescend to. Incidentally ,there are two versions, the director's edit and the later producer's edit. The latter, which cuts some footage, changes some music and adds some silly CGI, is inferior to the former.