Like The Singing Detective, Alastair Reid's award-winning 1989 British miniseries (broadcast in the U.S. on Masterpiece Theatre) has taken on mythic status. The critical and box-office success of Steven Soderbergh's Oscar®-winning feature-film adaptation paved the way for Traffik's home-video release, and it's an even more gripping and devastating experience. This is understandable in that it unfolds over five riveting hours, allowing for richer characterization. Traffik also operates on a broader canvas, as the interlocking stories play out in such far-flung locales as London and Hamburg, Germany, as well as Pakistan, a reminder that the war on drugs--in this case, heroin--is a global one. Comparisons between the miniseries and the movie are inevitable, and in the role played by Michael Douglas, Bill Paterson (perhaps best known as the lovelorn disc jockey in Comfort and Joy) makes a more convincing bureaucratic Everyman trying to hash out a financial-aid agreement with Pakistan that would eradicate the impoverished farmers' precious poppy crop. His world is shattered when his own daughter (Julia Ormond in her heartbreaking screen debut) becomes an addict. Lindsay Duncan is even more chilling than Catherine Zeta-Jones as Helen, a "housewife" who takes over her husband's smuggling operation when he is arrested. Aware of his illicit activities, she vows, "I'm not going to let go of everything we fought for." In the Don Cheadle role is Fritz Müller-Scherz as Ulli, a crafty and relentless German detective on Helen's case. One tragic story line unique to the miniseries concerns Fazal (Jamal Shah), an impoverished Pakistani farmer who finds work with Tariq Butt (Tallat Hussain), a major drug trafficker. This is one of television's finest hours (or five), and it's impossible not to get caught up in it. --Donald Liebenson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The acclaimed Masterpiece Theatre miniseries and the basis for the Academy Award winning film Traffic. A riveting thriller filmed on location in Pakistan, Hamburg and London, Traffik is and unflinching look at those who grow, sell and use drugs and the futility of efforts to stop them. Starring Bill Paterson (The Singing Detective), Lindsay Duncan (An Ideal Husband) and Julia Ormand (First Knight) in her extraordinary film debut. Three lives intersect explosively on the front lines of the drug war. Jack, a British government minister, thinks diplomacy will prevail until a fact-finding mission to Pakistan coincides with volcanic upheaval in his personal life. Helen, the British wife of a German businessman cough smuggling heroin, discovers her own steely determination to survive. And Fazal, a Pakistani Farmer forced out of his poppy fields, find a far more dangerous occupation.
Forget the American re-make, starring Michael Douglas. This is the only version worth seeing.Published 9 months ago by Patricia M. Dryburgh
LET'S KEEP THIS SIMPLE. THIS BRITISH VERSION LEAVES THE AMERICAN VERSION IN THE DUST. IT IS A REAL RIDE.Published on Oct. 28 2009 by editette
I was one of the few people in the world who watched this mini-series before the Hollywood production. Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by Hamood Rehman
Nothing much to add, apart from saying that the region 2 release has been superbly produced, so if you want to avoid the poor US market adaptation and have a multi region player,... Read morePublished on April 15 2004 by John
I'm strongly in the minority here, and I desperately wanted to share in the celebration of this series, but, as one or two other reviewers have noted here, the horrendous quality... Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2004
Truly gripping dramatic study of the heroin trade. The flow between storylines is handled perfectly. Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2003 by Graymac
We watched this over 3 nights on dvd and just loved it. I have never found myself liking a film and the tv series it was based upon equally but am in that situation here. Read morePublished on May 8 2002 by carol irvin
"Traffik" is one of those pinnacles of television. An amazing production, it spans England, Germany & Pakistan giving each location a visual flair. Read morePublished on March 14 2002 by Phil Watkins