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Human Traffic - A Retrospective Rage

The standard club-culture movie of the late nineties when raves had been replaced by club nights gets stripped down.


Dir: Justin Kerrigan

Prod: Alan Niblo (main)

Starring: John Simm, Danny Dyer

Released by: Metrodome

Running time: 99 Minutes

Released: 1999


This is not a review like my others. So I will save you the time if you want that: This film sucks. Alan Niblo is the most monotone producer alive. All his films have largely the same title sequence (Human Traffic, Football factory, It's All Gone Pete Tong) and they are all okay at best. As far as Justin Kerrigan goes, he "wants to make it realistic." Swing and a miss Justin. Danny Dyer said it was partly inspired by the far superior TV play "Loved Up" (with the thinking mans John Simm, Ian Hart, an actor who, unlike Mr. Simm is capable of playing different roles). What Danny meant to say was "a complete copy of."

I was a clubber. I know that life. Yes, it's loved up and a lot of hugging but all that "were such great mates and love each other look how happy we are in the car its all light, not like the dark car Nina's brother is in (yes Justin we noticed that sledgehammer subtle imagery.) So let us round it out by the characters then:

JIP

We see from the start. John Simm's character Jip, says people are "fucking away like they're...late for evolution or something." Now that line sums up the film. Sounds clever but makes no actual sense. Jip is somewhat likable. Takes a good turn but is also the main driver so the main car crash too.

The best example is where he shows Bill Hicks as an inspiration. Let me say something most are scared to: Bill Hicks was an arsehole (as discussed here). A spoiled brat who thought taking drugs and liking rock music made him some sort of sage whistleblower and something new. He was boring (he dragged at 20-minute routines to an hour with repetition and tedious sound effects), repeated the same jokes (his crucifix gag appeared in EVERY show he did and most interviews), and should have had the most flexible shoulders in East Texas from how much he patted himself on the back for being an intellectual. Do you read books, Bill? WOW! How unique. So when the movie tried to pass Bill off as irreverent and representative, it was then the"Plastic" label was fully ironed on.

His interaction with Andrew Lincoln (Egg from This Life) was one of the film's great moments. Hands up who has not got one of those?!) Afterward marred by the absurd method of gaining entry. So many holes I will not start, he would not have made it past the bouncer without the ID needed let alone the rest of it.

Jip is okay but he is just John Simm again. I bet John hates that DVD front cover. He looks like such a tool.

KOOP

He is okay. Never really breaks through for me.

LULU & NINA

They get put together because they are both so bloody awful.

First Lu. "I'm an independent woman.....zzzzz" once again showing Kerrigan's cliched and pedestrian script. "Make you feel like the Whore of Babylon for wearing a miniskirt" is another of those like Jip's evolution line. Trying to be memorable but really makes no sense considering the simile subjects. The two idiots (Matt and Luke) that they are very two-faced and bitchy about, which loses me straightaway are very much like the therapist in Ricky Gervais' After Life; just too stupid to be plausible. No one says those things.

So Nina then, ANOTHER example of the nonsense quotable writing with her "Eastenders, the comedown version" line. Also her college application anecdote. If you went for a college interview and replied to that question with "Philosophy is about the meaning of life" as she laments she wished she had done, you would be laughed at. She was way more likely to get in with the answer she gave. It showed individuality and a keenness to accept and interpret schools of thought rather than a lazy posers answer.

The smug arrogance and the misfire of thinking they are funny or clever with that tedious posturing in the interview segment was the kill-off to me. They are 2-d, irritating, and that stupid "calling for aliens, saying you are best friends, etc" it is so worthless and disposable.

MOFF

Fucking amazing. One of the best characters ever created and Danny Dyer is a megastar. He deserves all his shitty performances and sellout game show posturing purely for the taxi scene if nothing else. Doesn't put a foot wrong.

So is it just the writing? No. There are things like the robotic service-industry workers (yet another of his oh-so-clever takes on society. Clever for a year ten drama student) and that weird 'new national anthem' scene. In all my history of film watching, no two scenes belong on the cutting room floor or DVD extras as they do. Saying the music they love and the music they hate brings them together? So they have that conversation more than once? Really? How? Makes no sense. Also shows Jip must like Bill Hicks as his "14-years old, on the phone" line is classic Bill. When people put down commercial pop like they were never into it. It is so hypocritical. I am an alternative music fan but I respect the commercial pop side as without it you would not have alternatives. The industry would collapse. Hanson may be pop but they wrote, played, and largely produced, all their music. I detest this elitist snobbery among eclectic music fans that they are somehow better for liking unknown stuff. High fidelity/Bill Hicks self-congratulatory arseholes. The fact it is supposed to be about clubbing but they are only in the club for a few minutes. Plus the ending. Poor Moff is now the consummate Gooseberry. The only likeable one in it and his mates largely fuck him off!

It is definitely not all bad. Here are what I consider the gems:

  • The awkward interaction in the pub

  • Spliff politics - absolutely bang on

  • Moff

Yep. That's it.

Having researched IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes for this article I am pleased to see many others feel this way. seems everyone I know likens it to Trainspotting and Go! and those are plaudits this narrative government information film of a movie just does not deserve