STARRING: Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo, Benjamin Bratt, Yul Vazquez, Amy Ryan
DIRECTED BY: Brad Furman
WRITTEN BY: Ellen Brown Furman, based on Robert Mazur’s biography
RATED: R for strong violence, language throughout, some sexual content and drug material
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Based on a true story, Federal agent ROBERT “BOB” MAZUR (Bryan Cranston) goes deep undercover to infiltrate Pablo Escobar’s drug trafficking scene plaguing the nation in 1986 by posing as slick, money-laundering businessman Bob Musella. Teamed with impulsive and streetwise fellow agent EMIR ABREU (John Leguizamo) and rookie agent posing as his fiancé KATHY ERTZ (Diane Kruger), Mazur befriends Escobar’s top lieutenant ROBERTO ALCAINO (Benjamin Bratt). Navigating a vicious criminal network in which the slightest slip-up could cost him his life, Mazur risks it all building a case that leads to indictments of 85 drug lords and the corrupt bankers who cleaned their dirty money, along with the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, one of the largest money-laundering banks in the world.
I never saw the TV show, Breaking Bad. There! I said it. It's out there. I knew the premise and I couldn't invest myself into a show based on drug trade. Honestly, I'm tired of entertainment media which glorifies drug trade through the Hollywood lens. Still, I like Bryan Cranston as an actor and the title, The Infiltrator, sounded intriguing.
From the beginning, the film captures the attention of the audience. Great opening scene lays the foundation for a worthwhile movie adventure. The Infiltrator is far from a cartel glorification film. Based on a true story, the film depicts the gritty sequence of events which lead to the arrest and conviction of several of executives of the Columbia Medellin drug cartel. I liked that the movie does not romanticize Pablo Escobar. The person, Escobar, is almost an after thought with little more than a cameo, but his brutality is pervasive throughout. The story felt authentic.
The cast knocks it out of the park on this one. Bryan Cranston is was made to play Robert Mazur. This is the best I have ever seen him. Cranston plays the role sincere to the life of a regular Joe who is just trying to survive and protect his family, while heavily imbedded into the financial world of a dangerous drug cartel. While I can't pick any bad members of this cast, I do have to give John Leguizamo a nod. I think Leguizamo, as Cranston's unlikely partner in the undercover assignment serves to keep the action going. Diane Kruger and Benjamin Bratt also impress.
By and large, I have been disappointed with this Summer's movie fare. Films that were supposed by watch-worthy disappointed. The Infiltrator is not one of those disappointments. I was really impressed. I think a theater experience makes the experience more real, the brutality more gritty and the fear more scary. It was a great two hours.
The Infiltrator, based on a true story, is open nationwide today.