Movies

Human Traffic (1999, John Simm, Lorraine Pilkington)

Human Traffic

Human Traffic is Justin Kerrigan’s hilarious look at the modern club scene shows the good times and the wild times where drugs, drinks and talking rubbish to your mates are what make the night the best of all time.

In Cardiff, a group of friends prepare for the weekend. Jip (John Simm) tries to survive life with his prostitute mother and recently-encountered sexual insecurity. Lulu (Lorraine Pilkington), who has no such sexual problems, is a hedonistic clubber and a loyal friend. Moff (Danny Dyer) rebels against his father, a policeman, to deal drugs from the family home, and Koop (Shaun Parkes) surrounds himself with music and a possessive obsession with girlfriend Nina (Nicola Reynolds).

The five friends’ dead-end jobs come to a full stop with Friday night when they cut loose to party, meeting to drop the first pill of the evening before hitting the city. Lulu fails to get in for the big night so Jip gives her his ticket, confessing his current worries. As they move on to a party the drugs flow, and a weekend they will never forget slowly unfolds…

The film’s uncompromising content and tone appealed to an audience that recognised their own antics, from the tunes under musical supervisor Pete Tong to the use of drugs that didn’t lead to illness or death, just speculation about Star Wars. Clever marketing including an enigmatic trailer (featuring marijuana messiah Howard Marks) and a curious clubbing crowd led to a huge crossover both here and in the States (under the patronage of the formidable Weinsteins).

The charismatic Kerrigan was an instant hit, with coverage focusing on his determination (using a £25,000 festival short film prize to develop the project) and irreverence. Recounting an invitation to Windsor Castle as a representative of British youth culture, he pictures a tired and emotional meeting with the Queen. “This place looks great, mate,” he enthused. “Do you rent it out for parties?”

classic quote
“The weekend has landed. All that exists now is clubs, drugs, pubs and parties. I’ve got 48 hours off from the world man.”

UK / 1999

Director and Writer: Justin Kerrigan
Cast: John Simm, Lorraine Pilkington, Danny Dyer, Shaun Parkes, Nicola Reynolds