Video Release: September 29, 2009
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Acorn Media Publishing Inc.
- Runtime: 305 minutes
- NTSC (Canada and USA)
- Originally in English
TRAFFIK is a dramatic miniseries focusing on the sinister characters that comprise the illegal drug trade from the opium fields to the streets and the government agents who wage a bitter and bloody war against them. The film is set up in three main sections, each one examining a different aspect of the drug wars and the effects they are having on society.
TRAFFIK is the 5 1/2 hour British miniseries that provided the basis for Stephen Soderbergh's Oscar winning film TRAFFIC, and its length provides it with an opportunity to delve more deeply into the drug trade and addiction, making it a far more complete film than its Hollywood incarnation. TRAFFIK tells three stories; one is an exceptional look at the poppy fields and heroin cartels of Pakistan, where the beauty of the poppy fields is juxtaposed with the squalor of the slums inhabited by the workers who harvest the crop. Another takes place in England and stars Julia Ormond as the drug addicted 16 year-old daughter of British cabinet minister Jack Lithgow (Paterson) and depicts the depths of heroin addiction. The third stars Lindsay Duncan as the wife of a rich German drug smuggler who has just been busted, shattering the pretenses of her upper class life and driving her to continue her husband's trade. Finally, these three disparate stories are tied together by two German narcotics agents named Dieter and Ulli, who, along with a host of couriers, provide a very unnerving look at how heroin travels from Pakistan to Europe. Intricately detailed and emotionally devastating, TRAFFIK is a thoroughly engrossing miniseries that easily surpasses the excellence of its American cousin.
Steven Soderbergh's 2000 film TRAFFIC was based on this miniseries. TRAFFIK aired in the United States in 1990 as part of PBS's MASTERPIECE THEATRE. The miniseries screened at New York's Museum of Television and Radio from February through April 2001. Eric Mink of the New York Daily News calls TRAFFIK "a great one." TRAFFIK stars a very young Julia Ormond.