Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Human Traffic (1999)
18

By nature over-enthusiastic, it's possible that "Human Traffic"'s target audience adored this movie. This is commendable up to a point, but they, like the protagonists, will grow out of it.

Plot is ignored in favour of a strait-forward portrait of the weekender's weekend from the desperately self-justifying perspective of its five pillanthropists. By week they have dead-end jobs in retail outlets, Friday they get mashed, and the rest of the weekend is a protracted comedown.

First-time director Justin Kerrigan pulls off a number of flashy stunts, including the freeze-frame for character exposition trick, nowadays compulsory in any British film with aspirations towards being hip. Deprived of a role with substance, usually lovable John Simm (as sexually paranoid Jip) is at times plainly annoying, but directionless motor-mouthed Moff (Danny Dyer) is fun to watch.

The talent is wasted in more ways than one. The film's chemical viscera ultimately sideline its more compelling plotlines, such as Koop's mentally ill father and other emotional hardships from life beyond ecstasy. Similarly Cardiff stands in for any city, which is a shame.

Given that it confines itself to showing the chemical generation at play, rather than reflecting or commenting on it, the soundtrack, for which Pete Tong is credited as "supervisor", is as exhilarating as it ought to be.

Howard Marks' "spliff politics" scene is likely to give the film short-lived cult status among casual drug-users, and in years to come, the film will be an interesting but embarrassing period piece.

End Credits

Director: Justin Kerrigan

Writer: Justin Kerrigan

Stars: John Simm, Lorraine Pilkington, Shaun Parkes, Danny Dyer, Nicola Reynolds

Genre: Comedy

Length: 99 minutes

Cinema: 1999

DVD: 29 November 1999

VHS: 10 April 2000

Country: Ireland/UK

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