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Human Traffic

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Human Traffic

Starring: John Simm, Nicola Reynolds
Director: Justin Kerrigan
Rated: R
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: May 2000
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Lorraine Pilkington, Danny Dyer, Shaun Parkes

Review by Greg King
3 stars out of 4

This blistering Lost Weekend for the rave generation takes audiences on a searing, frenetically paced, dazzling, chemically fuelled journey through Britain's rave culture of the late '90's. Those looking for a lazy comparison will inevitably compare this film with Trainspotting. Admittedly, this energetic, drug fuelled, wildly cinematic ride through Britain's club scene and rave culture bears some superficial similarities with that ground breaking Scottish film. This impressive film debut from writer/director Justin Kerrigan is imbued with a similar sense of dynamic energy, momentum and bravura visual flair that cuts to the core of youth consciousness.

Almost plotless, the film follows a group of five twentysomethings through a weekend of drugs, sex, club crawling and deals. It centres around five friends - Jip, Lulu, Koop, Nina and eager young Cockney lad Moff, the party animal - who use the club scene as a way to escape the drudgery and boredom of their week day routine, spent working or bludging on the dole. The partying begins on Friday night and they begin to dry out on Sunday afternoon.

The film looks at the sexual hang-ups, the drug induced paranoia and the attitudes of its protagonists with humour and an unflinching honesty. However it's unflinching view of the excesses of today's youth will not appeal to all audiences.

This is something of a personal film for Kerrigan, who has had first hand experience of the scene. He has drawn upon a lot of his own personal experiences for the characters, and has put himself on the line with this film. Kerrigan brings a flamboyant, often surreal, visual style and cutting humour to the material. He cleverly uses monologues and different points-of-view to offer insights into this scene.

He also draws superbly natural, and largely improvised performances from his young and enthusiastic, and largely unknown, cast, most of whom are new to feature films. Newcomer Danny Dyer is wonderful as Moff, the youngest member of the group, and his energetic performance comes close to stealing the film. Human Traffic does not really espouse an anti-drugs message. Rather, it speaks to the consciousness of its hip young audience.

Whereas films like the classic Saturday Night Fever and the recent 54, etc, explored the disco scene of the '70's, Human Traffic has an immediacy and relevance for today's audience, who have experienced the rave and club scene. The action is accompanied by a sizzling soundtrack assembled by noted DJ Peter Tong, and features artists like C J Bolland, Fat Boy Slim, Orbital, etc. Human Traffic goes off, and will likely attain the same sort of cult status as Trainspotting.

Copyright 1999 Greg King

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