Human Traffic Review

Human Traffic
Five UK youths with various anxieties await the weekend - a 48 hour bingeing and purgeing session involving drink, class A drugs, dancing, shagging, and bangin' choons. But it's not all roses - they're getting older, and the scene just isn't the way it used to be. Or is it? Maybe it's them that have changed. Cod philosophy ensues...

by Trevor Lewis |
Published on
Release Date:

04 Jun 1999

Running Time:

90 minutes



Original Title:

Human Traffic

It is one of life's verities that people who are on drugs think themselves less boring than they actually are and, by the same token, listening to people banging on about being on drugs is a lot less interesting than being on them yourself. Both assertions apply to Kerrigan's portrait of Britain's chemical generation, which has difficulties translating the vicarious euphoria of his loved-up ravers to a substance-free audience.

The action follows five friends over a weekend's partying in Cardiff. There's Jip (Simm) who's suffering from clubber's droop, and his soul mate Lulu (Pilkington); their sparky pal Nina (Nicola Reynolds) and her jealous boyfriend Koop (Parkes), and, lastly, Moff (Danny Dyer), a motor-mouthed diamond geezer who pushes Class A wares. With the exception of Moff being caught masturbating in front of the mirror by his mum, and Howard Marks turning up in a fantasy sequence to deliver a speech on spliff lore, the protagonists' experiences are the same as many of their peers across the country.

They blag their way into clubs, pop pills, dance, snort lines, spout verbal diarrhoea, get paranoid, chill, shag and suffer comedowns. They also lose the plot, which is pertinent. The dance floor hubbub, the truthful ring of the lingo and the accuracy of Kerrigan's observations on rave culture are less in question than the absence of a definable narrative drive, the messily episodic structure, characters which hover above caricature or the film's fundamental validity as compelling cinema.

Anyone concerned that the full-on druggy irreverence will corrupt youth or - perish the thought! - initiate debate, needn't worry unduly: watching Kerrigan's creations happily make dipsticks of themselves will put most off narcotics forever. These particular traffic lights are stuck on red and everyone's going nowhere fast.
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