Set in the decadent 1980s, The Infiltrator stars Bryan Cranston as real life undercover US Customs agent Robert Mazur. A man who leads a double life playing seedy individuals who infiltrate criminal organizations for the US government while also leading a quiet private life with his wife and two children. Sick of risking his neck busting small time crooks in the overall scheme of things, Mazur decides to instead chase the money being laundered by the drug cartel. This leads him into more danger with the dirty money having serious connections to the infamous Pablo Escobar and his violent Medellín Cartel.
Some films in the past have romanticized the idea of going undercover as an exciting life playing someone you’re not who is trying to take down an evil empire that threatens the public’s safety. Director Brad Furman takes a more realistic, intense and interesting look at the world of deep cover. Mazur always lives in fear that his cover will be blown putting himself at risk as well as his loved ones. It’s fascinating to witness the lengths the agents would take to sell their persona to their enemies. The risks create some white knuckle moments where Mazur’s life is put in jeopardy due to simple run in with an unwanted guest at dinner or an off-handed comment around a highly unstable individual who won’t think twice about putting a bullet in his head. There are no stirred martinis or sexy army candy in The Infiltrator, just a gritty look at the men and women posing as trustworthy bad guys.
All of this undercover intrigue and intensity is fueled in The Infiltrator by the standout performance of Bryan Cranston. Hot off his Oscar nominated role in Trumbo, the former Breaking Bad actor shows why he is one of the best actors in the business today. Cranston takes Mazur from being a nice family man playing board games with his kids to a ruthless international criminal helping very bad people with their financial future. You can’t take your eyes off Cranston whether he is throwing his weight around with his perceived fake power or cowering in fear when he faces the true evil of these Cartel members. Mazur is definitely a character with a soul even though his plan is to tear down the people he became so close with during his mission.
The Infiltrator is an entertaining film, but it is not without its problems. The film throws so many characters at the audience with little background making it hard to keep up with all the motives of our cast of characters. John Leguizamo shines as Mazur’s loose cannon partner Emir who brings some humor and bad boy moments, but many of the players involved don’t get a chance to establish their roles due to time restraints. The Infiltrator could have actually benefited from extra 20 minutes to slow down the globe-trotting fast pace and delve into the individuals Mazur is meant to befriend like Benjamin Bratt’s Roberto. Even with some of the character development problems, the real show here is Cranston who does not disappoint giving the audience another stellar performance that makes up for some of The Infiltrator‘s minor missteps.
Overall, I give The Infiltrator 3 out of 4 stars.
Read all my reviews here–>Entertainment Now with T.M. Powell