Human Traffic

Director: Justin Kerrigan
Screenwriters: Justin Kerrigan

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


A tweaked anthem for Britain’s new generation of chemical kids, Human Traffic is a spirited, techno-pounding foray into late nineties club culture. With explosive energy and unbridled imagination, Justin Kerrigan’s filmmaking proves just as audacious as the antics of his spinning subjects. A youth movement tapestry without scrutiny or moralization, Human Traffic examines the phenomenon of the rave culture in all its dilated, dance-adelic glory. Chronicling one night in the lives of five mates from Cardiff, Human Traffic is a sort of uneventful After Hours for the disaffected youth. With their shitty day jobs and yawn-ola family lives, their singular focus is to get more satiated and sweaty than they did the previous weekend. As the film takes us through the elaborate planning process of their intricately plotted debauchery (including identifying shag prospects, procuring the drug smorgasbord, and coordinating fashion accessories), it becomes apparent that our heroes’ only mission is to have an insane amount of fun. But through the mashing drug haze and massive comedown, they ponder for a fleeting moment what it’s all about—that is, until they remember they’ve got to gear up for next weekend.

A fundamentally atypical “drug” movie, Human Traffic is devoid of violence, consequence, vitriol, or sensationalism. Instead, Kerrigan’s approach is a more realistic and multifaceted rendition of the “big night out”; long, fun, glittery, shallow, psychedelic, profound but ultimately forgettable. With a form that is delectably cheeky, Kerrigan combines smart-alec sass with technical wizardry to evoke the frenzied energy of an entire youth movement. —

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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