Human Traffic

Fans of techno music can finally rejoice. This summer, there are no less than three techo-themed movies coming out, including Human Traffic, Groove, and Better Living Through Circuitry. Techno music is all the rage across the pond, but disdained here by most people. This is amusing, since techno music pervades commercials, movie trailers, sporting events, and radio bumper music. The influence of techno, or electronica, branches into many top pop and hip-hop songs unbeknownst to many fans. So although techno did not break through as much as fans hoped a couple years ago, it is here. And nothing will please detractors more than Human Traffic, a dull look at the rave culture. For those who still do not know, a rave is an all night party filled with techno, and often brimming with ecstasy.

Jip (John Simm, Diana and Me) is the narrator of the film. He is a boring kid who hates his job and cannot 'get it up' for the women. His equally boring friends are Koop (Shaun Parkes), a wannabe DJ, Lulu (Lorraine Pilkington, The Boxer), Jip's platonic clubbing friend and the object of his affection, Moff (Danny Dyer), and Nina (Nicola Reynolds), Koop's girlfriend. Their main plan for the weekend is to party and trash themselves. And that is essentially the entire movie. Kip frequently addresses the audience directly, which is not really distracting, but is annoying. The script tries to show that these people lead vastly different lives, but everyone is the same at the party, regardless of their dead-end jobs or their pathetic lives. However, instead of insight, the script only lets Jip and company complain, both sober and under the influence of a myriad of chemicals. Human Traffic takes Jip and his friends from the week where they cannot wait for the weekend, to the weekend, to the aftermath. At the end, nothing is different. There is no reason to think they won't do the same thing again next week.

Writer/director Justin Kerrigan does do a great job with everyone else. The music pulses though the entire movie, giving it a sense of urgency and life, much more life than that of its characters. Tons of artists contribute to the soundtrack, including Carl Cox (who also appears in the movie), Fatboy Slim, CJ Bolland, William Orbit, and others. Human Traffic is definitely a product of today. Kerrigan (25 years old) was obviously influenced by movies such as Trainspotting and perhaps Armageddon and The Rock. Things happen quickly, scenes flash before the audience at lightning speed, and the energy level is still low. Some of the editing and framing of the shots is also interesting, and Kerrigan also shows some of Jip's thoughts (think a very tripped out Ally McBeal). If only the music was louder as to drown out the dialogue.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 24 minutes, Rated R for pervasive drug content and langauge, and for some strong sexuality.

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