In 1999, Justin Kerrigan brought us an in-your-face, unapologetic, spaced-out, buzzed-up, smart, hilarious and fresh film that centred around a group of friends on a night out in Cardiff. Dividing audiences by it’s niche subject matter, for those that love Human Traffic it’s still a cult classic. The entire film is fantastic but here are 10 of the very best things about Human Traffic:
1) John Simm as Jip: He provides an engaging and intelligent voice throughout the film and we genuinely root for him. He drives the film’s emotional core and has a lot of the best scenes. Two classics for you back to back to refresh your memory:
2) The satire and social observations: Human Traffic brilliantly mocks social norms and dramatises inner dialogue. The body poppers working in the cinema, the ‘how this conversation should have gone’ in the bar, and the news report in the club are some of my favourites. The themes of alienation, counter-culture and British society are explored inventively and intelligently.
3) The music: With Pete Tong as producer and music ranging from 1980’s disco; Last Night a DJ saved my Life by Indeep, to dutty Hip Hop; Last Request by Grim, the soundtrack is banging. It features a plethora of dance music produces the likes of which will make the hair on your head tingle. (full listing can be found here).
4) The love stories: Nina and Koop and Lulu and Jip are both authentic and engaging couples that provide some genuinely sweet moments in the film.
5) Star Wars revelations: Incredible. Need I say anymore…
6) Friendships: From the very start of the film I buy into this group as friends. Jip’s narration and the characters’ introductory monologues place them contextually within the film as well as with each other. By the time the night out clubbing arrives we are completely convinced by these people as best friends, a complete credit to the actors and the writing. The in-jokes are delivered with credibility and endear rather than alienate the audience.
7) Koop: Played by Shaun Parkes, Koop is a legend. Anyone who gets to say “This could turn Hare Krishna into a bad boy” gets ultimate ratings in my book. I love this scene below for MANY reasons, but I love it even more for the fact that the director, featured in the silver jacket, skanks out haaaard.
8) Cameos and Influences: Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Jo Brand and Howard Marks all feature in the film, and it is a testament to the quality of Kerrigan’s writing skills that they do. Spliff Politics with Howard Marks. Inspired.
Bill Hicks features briefly at the start of the film and his words close it “Its an insane world, but I’m proud to be part of it”.
9) Moff: Best character in the film by a mile. Danny Dyer is brilliant and pitches the character just right. He’s likeable and funny and is wholly convincing as the “the cockney space case”.
10) Moff and Peter Andre: I still quote this scene now. This scene is epic. Yes epic. Reason enough alone to love this film.