The ambling nature of “Trafic”, along with Tati’s visual creativity, give it a sort of therapeutic vibe, but lacking the ambition and drive of his earlier films hurts it.
It’s more nakedly episodic and directionless in a meandering way rather than the sauntering way of some of his earlier films. It’s certainly entertaining in many parts, and there are plenty of appealing shots and setpieces, but it feels tired.
Tati was already sick of using Monsieur Hulot by Play Time, seeing him wheeled out (on his own, no less, not as part of a greater ensemble to the extent he was in Play Time) feels perfunctory. Returning to a scaled-down Hulot film after Play Time doesn’t feel like a well-earned break or fresh take on his earlier style, it feels more regressive than anything else. Not a bad watch at all, but a disappointing one. Two and a half tires, and a long winding road.