The Infiltrator

Year: 2016
Director: Brad Furman
Starring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger
Written by Tom Sheffield

When I first heard about ‘The Infiltrator’, it ticked all the right boxes. Based on a true story, with Bryan Cranston in the leading role, and 80’s law enforcement undercover investigations. The cast looked pretty solid, and after doing some research on the true story on which the film is based, I was really intrigued to see how it would be adapted for the purpose of the film.

Based on the incredible true story of Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston), a U.S Customs officer, the film follows Mazur’s story as he goes deep undercover as a money-laundering businessman under the name of Bob Musella, in order to infiltrate the infamous Pablo Escobar’s drug trafficking business. Alongside Bob is his partner, Emir Ebreu (John Leguizamo) and Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger), who is a new agent on her first undercover investigation that poses as Bob’s fiance to make his character seem as real as possible. Mazur and his team are fully aware of how deep they are in the drug cartel and extremely conscious of the fact that one wrong word or slip up will blow the operation and potentially cost them their lives. Mazur and his team risk everything in order to try and bring a stop to Escobar’s drug cartel and his friends in high and corrupt places.

Bryan Cranston delivers nothing but an outstanding performance throughout the film. His portrayal of Mazur was brilliant, and in my opinion it was perfectly clear the effort he put into differentiating his actual character, who is a caring, loving, family man struggling to separate his work life from his home life, and his cocky, slick talking, no shit taking undercover persona. Mazur’s investigation sees him go through a lot of highs, lows and intense points of uncertainty, and Cranston makes each scene as  believable as the next. His co-stars Leguizamo and Kruger also deliver strong performances, both as their characters and their undercover alter-egos. Throughout the film Mazur, Ebreu and Ertz have a lot of strain put on their relationship, often doubting one another or struggling to trust their judgements due to the nature of the case, and how one minuscule hiccup could have all 3 of them killed without any pause for thought from the criminals they are rubbing shoulders with. The 3 of them had great energy on the screen together and I think this made the storyline even more tense and attention grabbing as they each wanted to handle the case differently. This meant the story refrained from being predictable because we didn’t know who would do what or when they would do it.

Whilst the film manages to retain a strong feeling of danger and tension from the start, it does sometimes find itself drifting off from the main plot into areas that aren’t really as interesting as the main story. These few sidetracked scenes still showcase the acting talents of the cast, but you can’t help but think these scenes were just added to extend the running time. There were a few times where jumps in the story were days or week apart and it took me a minute to figure out the story had jumped forward, thanks to to dialogue between the characters explaining what we had missed off-screen.

I highly recommend giving ‘The Infiltrator’ your time and attention, even if the cast don’t seem like your cup of tea, the story has to be seen to be believed as this incredible undercover case leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout. Whilst obviously some of the scenes are a fabrication for the film’s purposes, they don’t stray too far from the real story which I think always makes films based on true stories that bit better, and more enjoyable.

Tom’s rating: 7.9 out of 10
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