John Mazur (played by Bryan Cranston) and Emil Abreu (played by John Leguzamo) go under deep cover into a world of scary, murderous, criminal, sociopaths in The Infiltrator. Very much in the vein of Walter White from Breaking Bad, Cranston’s character attempts to navigate two worlds; that of doting family man, and that of a high level money launderer for drug dealers, and eventually the entire Medellin cartel. To make an error as a family man may or may not be forgivable; to make an error as a money launderer for a drug cartel will undoubtedly cost him his life.
Mazur is not your typical undercover officer, but a U.S. Customs official who, along with the more street smart Emil, infiltrates the cartel in an attempt to follow the money trail rather than the drug trail to bust the drug trade wide open, including the drug lord, Pablo Escobar, his upper level lieutenants and associates and the bankers who enabled them to launder their dirty money around the world. Based on a true story, this movie has action and suspense, and it is shot like it was made in the 80’s at the height of the U.S. war on drugs, but in a good way.
Cranston is one of the most effortless modern day actors. Here, he does what he does best – the good guy turning bad showing the blurred lines in-between. Leguzamo provides the much needed comic relief, and shows off his dramatic skills in some very tense scenes. The Infiltrator is fast paced (sometimes a little too fast (see below)) and never dull because you never know what an agent might do to slip up.
The main issue I had with this movie was that the characters skipped around from setting to setting and it was not always clear where they were, and/or how they got there, which left me sort of confused and having to take a few seconds to figure it out. The agents and cartel associates move from New York, to Tampa, to Columbia, to Paris and back again with such little notice and such fluidity it was hard to keep up. At least it was hard for me to keep up anyway. You may fare better. This scene shifting leads to the other problem with the film. This style of film making makes it feel as though certain scenes are incomplete. Before you know it, the movie moves on to the next situation, the next scene, the next event – giving the entire movie a “choppy” feel.
The Infiltrator earned 7.5 out of 10 bloops. It is a solid movie worth seeing, particularly if you enjoy a movie with suspense, action, drug lords and executions.