The Infiltrator Movie Review
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Drugs have always been one of the “forbidden fruits” that has lead to massive money power and death. Law enforcement typically plays catch-up due to the sheer volume of illegal drugs being distributed. Pablo Escobar was one the biggest, if not THE biggest, drug traffickers in history. His reign was a long and extremely profitable one. This notorious drug lord was often referred to as “The King of Cocaine” and amassed staggering amount of fortune due to his illegal, yet thriving business. Escobar was once the richest criminal in history with an estimated worth of over $30 billion. His success made him an obvious top priority target of various law enforcement agencies. Many US led operations were executed with the hopes of at least hindering Escobar’s penetration into the United States markets. One such operation is the focus of The Infiltrator, which we will get into right now.
Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) is a skilled US Customs undercover agent who works hard by putting himself in harm’s way in the hopes of getting illegal drugs off of the streets of America. Bob (that’s what we’re shortening Cranston’s character’s name to from this point on) is close to retirement after his latest undercover stint and is on the brink of becoming FORMER agent and CURRENT full time husband and father, Bob Mazur. Before this can take place, a fellow undercover agent, Emir (John Leguizamo) dangles a carrot that’s too tasty to resist…Pablo Escobar. An opportunity presents itself to take down the biggest drug operation that the United States has ever known and there’s no way Bob can walk away from that.
The Infiltrator sees Bryan Cranston returning to his dual persona illegal drug life, only this time he’s on the other side of the law. In case you’ve lived under a rock over the last eight years, Cranston played the lead role of Walter White in AMC’s Breaking Bad for five seasons from 2008 – 2013. Cranston’s character in The Infiltrator just as compelling as he separates himself from the more grounded agent, husband and father that he portrays. It’s his ability to flawless display both sides of a very different coin that will make audiences appreciate his talent. He is the backbone and foundation on which this biographical crime drama is built. John Leguizamo brings an edgy unpredictable side to the movie. There is often increased tension when he has screen time because you’ll honestly not know what to expect. That being said, he also provides a few comic relief moments as well (and there aren’t many the movie). Also starring alongside these two are Diane Kruger (National Treasure (2004)), Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck (1987)), Jason Isaacs (Lucious Malfoy of the Harry Potter franchise), Amy Ryan (Central Intelligence (2016)) and Benjamin Bratt (Ride Along 2 (2016)). This is a very well-rounded cast with a great amount of acting experience which shines throughout.
Director Brad Furman seems to get the most out of his actors in his relatively short list of works. His feature film directorial debut, The Take (2007) also starring John Leguizamo, was well received critically speaking. Proving that it wasn’t a fluke, he followed that up with The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) which once again had critics and fans alike swooning. Oh and guess who was in that one also, John Leguizamo! His last movie, Runner Runner (2013), was where success exited stage left. The Justin Timberlake/Ben Affleck thriller tanked hard. It may be worth mentioning here that Furman’s lucky charm, aka John Leguizamo, was not a part of that project. Someone might have gotten into Furman’s head with this revelation since John Leguizamo is once again back in the casting saddle. And with that being said, The Infiltrator will return Furman to his previous directing glory.
The Infiltrator is well acted, solidly directed and more importantly, not overly boring or over-the-top violent. It takes a more conservative approach and doesn’t try to be a shoot ‘em up action flick about catching bad guys. There’s serious drama, meaningful relationships formed, tough decisions to be made and life long bonds created. Don’t go in expecting The Godfather (1972) or Scarface (1983). The Infiltrator is anchored in fact so missing are gratuitous action sequences. This is all about the story and the acting, which are both very well done. Check it out in theaters starting today.