I do not agree with a lot of the comments made in the article "You are Alright, but ...". For example when the author says that the sex scene between the black american and Caroline dehumanizes him because his face is not shown. I think that the way the shot was done adds to the dramatic feel of the situation. To me this movie did a good job at portraying ethnicity without falling into an argument about racism and without falling into stereotypes. I think that Traffic was trying to be realistic. Truth is that there is inequality between people from different color and different cultural backgrounds in the United States and therefore It was more coherent with reality to put a white male in a high rank position in the American government than any other person even if this adds on the Hollywood portray of white male Americans. However, one think I do agree with Shaw is that white Americans were not portrayed as drug dealers only as drug victims. I did not like that because the movie should try to represent reality from every possible perspective and not just from economic hierarchy.
Another think I did not like about the article is the critique about the colors used to represent Mexico and USA. I think that any color used by the director would have been criticized and references would b young to argue for any meaning. I think that the director wanted the viewer to know were the scenes were happening without a context. For example in the last scene when Javier is watching the kids play baseball we know he is in Mexico because of the sepia-yellowish color of the image.
I like the movie because it tried to represent the complexity of the dynamics of drug trafficking and because it showed some powerful images like the car explosion, the death of Manolo and the cocaine-toy. The dialogues were also powerful, the speech of Ruiz about how the police is working for the drug dealers was really good at showing the flaws of the war on drugs. The last words of Roberto's speech and his conversation with the person in charge of the intelligence building in the border raised many questions about the real head of the cartel's and the point of a war on drugs. What I did not like was that the movie was not direct, it carried no specific message. I can see people going to the theater, liking the stories and getting overwhelmed for an hour but forgetting about it because it does not suggest anything. On one hand Ruiz and the two cops and Robert 's stories seems to suggest that the war on drugs is useless. On the other hand, Javier's story romanticizes the DEA and the police. From his story line one can conclude that more police like him is all that is needed to end drug trafficking.
My favorite part was the one played by Elen (Zeta-Jones) because it seem honest to me. I believe that a lot of people involved on drugs do it out of selfishness and indifference for justice but not because they are evil like Salazar or Flores.
About the representation of Mexico I think that some of the characters were depicted as modern versions of Pancho Villa or bandits. Salazar was just weird and creepy as well as Flores. Even Javier and Manolo had a weird unpleasant tone of voice and very slow dramatic pitch. I think the scene with the stolen car and the English-speaking couple was unnecessary and all it did was to make Tijuana look really bad. There were two scenes were Mexico/USA meta-converged. First when Robert is driving on the highway and the blue and the yellow mix to form green and another when Robert looks with the binoculars towards Mexico. I think that these two scenes put Mexico at the same level of USA is that both countries suffer from the consequences of the same problem but USA is more diligent and willing to fight the problem, at least in the movie.
Also the shots above Mexico city were a good way to show what I interpreted as the visit to a place that has nothing to do with the smuggling that happens in the border and that is not interested on it but is the center of attention because of the president and the administrative bodies that reside there. In other words in the movie Mexico was constructed as a country with divided interests .