Grade: B

Technically flashy, colorfully garish and frequently quite
funny, Justin Kerrigan’s largely-autobiographical debut feature
is a fairly plotless portrait of five young Cardiff friends
who escape from their dismal jobs by spending their weekends
in dance clubs where drugs like Ecstasy are readily available
and the music is loud and pulsating. Kerrigan’s script is
an account of one weekend’s escapades, offering sharp portraits
of the individual members of the group while, through amusing
narration and dexterously-staged flashbacks, providing insight
into their none-too-pleasant weekday existences.

“Human Traffic” will probably be compared to “Trainspotting,”
and there is some similarity in terms of the verve and
vibrancy of the filmmaking and the non-judgemental tone, which,
once again, some will perceive as pro-drug. But Kerrigan’s
picture doesn’t go as deeply into the characters as the Hodge-
Boyle film did; its effects remain more on the surface.

Still, they’re pretty good effects, and though “Human Traffic”
occasionally lags a bit, the directorial flamboyance and the
energy of its young cast generally keep it percolating nicely.
It’s certainly a promising first film for Kerrigan, far
superior to the dreary American flick “Groove,” which tries for
an equally uninhibited portrait of the U.S. rave culture. Just
watch that snoozer and you’ll appreciate how much life and
humor Kerrigan has instilled into his tale.