Why "Human Traffic" is possibly my favourite film of all-time.

Posted on Posted in addictions, humour

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“It’s an insane world, but I’m proud to be a part of it”

Bill Hicks

There are better films ever made: Citizen Kane, Pulp Fiction, Der Himmel über Berlin, but for sheer enjoyment, joi d’vive and a film which I can watch endlessly with memorable dialogue, vivid cut scenes and pure Zeitgeist, I can’t better 1999’s Human Traffic directed by Justin Kerrigan

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It was Kerrigan’s first film, and this shows in its many vignettes and in-jokes that he had clearly been nursing for many years to this point.

However, it is this narrative which combines a (minimalist as it is) story arc about a bunch of mates who go out on a weekend and two of them get off with each other intersperced with fantasy inserts which are so seemless as to match the flow of consciousness that is seen only in Joyce’s Ulysses or a Tarantino Movie (imagine a Pulp Fiction without violence, and setting it in Cardiff).
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Another reason why I love it is that it speaks to ME: drugs, pubs and parties in my (foul, witty, irreverent but ultimately grounded) language.

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Performances are hugely varied and many of the young cast went on to loads of other things: John Simm, Shaun Parks and Danny Dyer all rock, whereas I always thought the character of Nina (Nicola Reynolds) was simply rubbish and one-dimensional.

The reason I watch it over and over again is not for any perceived spiritual meaning other than to be reminded that “err… Life is great!” (John 10:10 in action if ever I saw it). It affirms humanity and God’s creation through the simple love of being and the desire to connect with others, through music, drugs, sex and in the end through friendship; which is frankly the best we can get.

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The soundtrack is amazing, although it really does speak to about 5 years after my own club life; and its ambivalence towards recreational drug use “party prescriptions” speak of the world and culture I inhabited back then: been there, done that and had far too many regrets over that: I love this film because I understand it.

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The pre-night-out monologue “The weekend has landed” is one of the best in cinema and ends with a classic bit of Bill Hicks. All of those Danny Dyer “Moff” dialogues (even the weird one about Taxi Driver and Peter Andre) are brilliant: simply brilliant and have entered into my inner dialogue.

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However, I have been to Cardiff on the beer – a party town like few others and which look a scene from Hyronymous Bosch come to life. My key question is where are all the welsh people in this film? Almost all the main characters are not locals (and not at the Uni either which is what draws most non-Welsh people to Cardiff) It’s like a Ghost Town: packed but devoid almost of Welsh accents.

However, this is my film. It’s the one I watch on long train journeys and the one which goes through my head on replay. You must have a film like that of your own. I’ve shared mine, now you tell me yours….

(recently written after a long journey home and only just typed up from my notebook)

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