SassyFlix | Heavy Traffic

Heavy Traffic

  • R
  • 1973-08-08
  • 01:16:00
7/ 10
41 votes

Animation, Comedy, Drama

The film begins in live-action and introduces the protagonist Michael Corleone, a 22-year-old virgin playing pinball in New York City. The scene then transitions into an animated and dangerous New York neighborhood. Michael's Italian father, Angelo "Angie" Corleone, is a struggling mafioso who frequently cheats on Michael's Jewish mother, Ida. The couple constantly bicker and try to kill each other. The unemployed Michael dabbles in cartoons and often wanders throughout the city to avoid family skirmishes and to artistically feed off the grubbiness of his environment. He regularly hangs out at a local bar where he gets free drinks from the female black bartender, Carole, in exchange for sketches of the somewhat annoying Shorty, Carole's violent, legless bouncer devotee. One of the regular customers at the bar, a nymphomaniac transvestite named Snowflake, gets beaten up by a tough drunk hard-hat who has only just realized that Snowflake is a man in drag and not a beautiful woman. Snowflake loves it, but the drunk causes property damage. Shorty throws the drunk out and the bar's white manager abusively confronts Carole over this. Fed up with her manager, Carole quits.

Shorty offers to let Carole stay at his place, but not wanting to get involved with him, Carole tells Shorty that she's staying with Michael. The Corleones' deteriorating domestic situation convinces Michael and Carole to move out of Michael's parents' house and try to earn enough money to move to California, in order to avoid Shorty. Michael gets a chance to pitch a comic strip idea to an old executive lying on his death bed, who seems enthusiastic enough to listen to the idea. The abnormally dark tone of Michael's story is too much for the mogul and he dies during the pitch. Meanwhile, Carole tries to work as a taxi dancer. Michael, acting as her manager, tries to pass her off as "the fourth Andrews Sister" ("'cause she was black, they kept her in the background"). A quick flash of her panties gives an old man a heart attack, and Carole is fired. Meanwhile, Angie tries to use his Mafia connections to put a murder contract out on his son for "disgracing the family" by dating a black woman. The Godfather refuses to do this, because the hit is "personal, not business". However, Shorty eventually meets up with Angie and agrees to fulfill the contract.

Michael and Carole turn to crime as a means of getting by, with Carole taking the role of a prostitute. Carole flirts with a sleazy businessman and brings him to a hotel room, where Michael beats him to death with a lead pipe. As the two walk out with the dead man's cash, Shorty arrives and shoots Michael in the head. Following a kaleidoscope of shocking images and horrifying events, the film reverts to the live-action story. The "real" Michael destroys a pinball machine after it tilts and walks out onto the street. He bumps into the "real" Carole and follows her into a park. The two are seen briefly arguing before they finally take each other's hands and begin dancing in the park.