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Showing 1-10 of 32 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 59 reviews
on September 10, 2013
Considering it's a Bakshi film it being a little odd is to be expected, but this? This is one of the strangest cartoons out there, literally like a night of boozing and doing LSD. The biggest drawback is that there's almost no plot. The main character is in an arcade, he's a somewhat talented cartoonist, and while playing a game of pinball he sorta trips out into this fantasy world where it's mostly live action, partly cartoon, and the whole setting of this is in the disturbed 1970's NYC where gangs of punks, lowlifes, pimps, prostitues, cheap sex and the like are at their worst. You'll see the glits and glamor of New York, but mostly the darker side will abound ranging from dirty slums, delapidated abandoned buildings, swanky bars, allies overrun with mafioso, and corrupt cops and almost anything inbetween. The plot is very basic. The cartoonist trips out, then he meets his friend Carol, and they go and get together and do something (totally unknown what it is but it's apparent at the end.) The movie basically throws the plot out the window and focuses in on dazzling you with a gritty, grainy animation style Bakshi and his crew are now famous for while a barely noticeable plot is slows peiced together in about an hour and sixteen minutes. As a matter of fact, you could almost say that the biggest 'plot' of all is to amaze you with the bloody, gory and sexually provocative tidbits of this film while some patches of actually story were thrown in.

This film goes against the grain of your average movie, but executes it in a very wonderful unforgettable way. I guess it all boils down to personal taste with this one. I can see someone wanting a great movie with an all star cast and an engaging plot dismissing this as pure rubbish, but someone simply looking for a film with a truly remarkable bag of neat tricks would give think it was an unloved masterpiece.

I would most certainly give another look at a Bakshi production! Totally an awesome movie!
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on January 30, 2017
not for the faint of heart. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Ralph Bakshi fan then this is a must see. Lots of sex, violence and bad language. Remember this was 1973 and movies were tough and ruthless back then. ...or was it rough and toothless?
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on October 15, 2000
I remember very well the effect this film had on me right after leaving the theater; everywhere I looked on the drive home, people looked like cartoons. In Heavy Traffic, animation artist Ralph Bakshi presents us with a look at life in the early 70s (late 60s?), city style .... and this city is gritty, not entirely pretty ....
Michael Corleone (not the only reference to other popular films of the times) scribbles away at his drawing board while his Catholic father and Jewish mother wage Armageddon outside his door. He finds comfort and release seeing the world as an absurd, psychotic cartoon. Pretty much a loner, his main connection to the outside world is a black bargirl named Carol who works right downstairs from him and slips him drinks for his entertaining sketches. An unfortunate incident with a drag queen associate costs Carol her job, and she and Michael end up out on the streets together, since he can't seem to make ANY sort of job situation come together. They form a sort of hustling alliance, with him as her pimp, and they nosedive into dark urban realms of the quick buck and the inevitable personal compromises involved.
All this is interposed with images of live city backdrops and numerous references to a pinball game. Ralph Bakshi's animated vision is a moving work of underground pop art which, despite limitations, was a groundbreaking achievement that pushed the frontiers of American animation thousands of miles. I can see the influence of this film (and Bakshi's work in general) on the likes of Matt Groening, Don Bluth, and yes, even parts of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Heavy Traffic is dark, rude and dangerous. At times it has an almost experimental feel, moving at a stream of consciousness pace more than any conventional narrative. Its portayal of characters is raw and extreme, has an exaggerated sort of believability to it. It also has the feel of a semi-autobiography, with its portayal of a creative misfit struggling against the odds for survival, if not personal validation.
This very personal work goes places other animations of the time wouldn't even consider, was rated X at the time of its original release, and was re-released very shortly afterward in a lightly watered-down R-version. The recent DVD release appears to be a restoration of the original artwork, is a nice clean print, despite the full-frame format and mono soundtrack. It would be nice to see this touched up with a slightly refurbished soundtrack (it IS animation, after all); at the same time the compressed sound lends to the quaint sort of 70s feel to it, creating an air of nostalgia rivaling that of The Iron Giant. And these guys weren't even trying!
My appreciation for this special film has not diminished over the years; indeed, I understand it a bit more as an adult. It captures the dark, skewed out, surrealistic beauty of the urban underbelly, delivers some nasty bellylaughs, shows us the world as an oversized cartoon arcade game, and reminds us that all we can do sometimes is just keep playing that game. Even if we do end up getting our head blown off by a paraplegic midget on a skateboard. This stuff happens .......
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on March 14, 2013
We rented this one day when I found it on accident and liked the cover enough to check the story out from the back cover. I ended up recording it to a tape just in case we never found it again because we love the twisted toons! Anyone that just wants to see an older earth attitude with a twisted tale and cool animation well before computers this is the one you want! Sometimes you'll swear you're on acid!
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on October 30, 2016
Different in all ways. Some of the finest illustrations to some of the poorest. Great mix of live action to animation. This movie is not for all but great for some.
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on April 30, 2016
Brings me way back to my teen yrs. ! Great trip back in time . Gritty controversial look at urban life during the Hippie period . Ioved all Ralf Bakshi's stuff ( Fritz The Cat etc. )
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on November 24, 2014
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on July 31, 2009
I saw Heavy Traffic in a sale promo from Amazon. It was a 2 for $10 sale and I ordered six pairs. I checked each one to be sure what I was ordering. The version of Heavy Traffic shown on Amazon was the 77 minute X-rated version. What I received was the 76 minute R-rated version. I wanted the X-rated version only as a collection item so the R version was useless to me.

I used the automated refund/replace Amazon process and was promptly given a return label. I hadn't even gotten that mailed when the replacement arrived... only it was a replacement, it was the same thing. I called (having lost faith in automated anything) and had to explain over and over what the problem was. Finally got a "we'll look into it and get back to you within 24 hours". I've had nothing but good experience with Amazon in the past so expect this to be resolved well. Otherwise you'll see another scathing post from me in a few days in all caps.

As for the movie, I recall it being rather dark and crude. It is animation mixed with live action in an unusual way, nothing like Who Killed Roger Rabbit. For 5 or 6 bucks, it's worth seeing for uniqueness, as long as material doesn't bother you.
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on November 10, 2016
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on December 10, 2014
This, like all Bakshi creations is undeniably bizarre: no more or less so than most of his others. If you liked THEM, You will probably find this one OK or better.
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