Drugs don't drive you crazy. Life does. Human Traffic drills a hole in your skull and lets psychedelic woop-woop redecorate inhibition. Justin Kerrigan wrote the script when he was 23. He is 25 now. What he has done is bend the influence of other directors to suit a cinematic sensibility that owes nothing to anyone, while creating the most original homegrown movie since... whatever. Comparisons only categorise originality and this one stands alone.

The director's style is the opposite of pastiche. Film buffs may find his attitude disrespectful. Certainly, it kicks. He mixes magic with realism, thought pictures with dream clips, accepting that the running commentary inside your head is more relevant than talk-talk. Dull jobs stimulate imagination, if only as an escape, and Ecstasy sends parcel bombs to the brain.

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This is a five-friends-on-the-rampage scenario. They are post-teen ravers, with hang-ups about sex and the future of the world. Saturday night at the club is where the grooves, the dance, the drugs chase them to the edge of oblivion before starting the long haul back towards paranoia. "All you can look forward to now is unconsciousness," one recalls the comedown. "But you can never sleep." In some ways, this is an adult-free zone.

Kerrigan learnt the rules - he went to film school in Wales - and how to break them. If you want to understand youth culture, if you want to know why clubbing is more than a dance thing, if you want to be reassured that droopage in the bedroom department is not exclusively an old bloke's disease, if you want to feel alive and reckless and illegally boosted, this man comes from there and doesn't waste time apologising.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The weekend is here and the ravers are wasted.
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