The Infiltrator (15)
Directed by: Brad Furman
Starring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo & Diane Kruger
Running time: 2hr 7mins
A U.S. Customs official uncovers a money laundering scheme involving Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
It’s 1985 and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agent) Robert Mazur (Cranston) is used to being undercover to bring down mid-level drug dealers when he comes up with the idea to chase the flow of the money instead of the flow of drugs.
Creating a new identity with plausible back story and enlisting the help of fellow agent Emir Abreu (Leguizamo), the two agents infiltrate the highest echelons of the Columbian Drug Cartel culminating in dealing with the money of Pablo Escobar.
The Infiltrator, based on the book by Robert Mazur, tries to be a cross between Goodfellas and Wall Street, and sadly fails on almost every level. The strengths of the movie are in the acting talents with Bryan Cranston brilliantly portraying a DEA agent who is wise to the world and living on his wits, whilst John Leguizamo is the constant wise cracking “kid” of the picture who uses humour to deflect his own inner fears.
However it is the script and plot points that make this film a downer as opposed to the coke fuelled drama it aims to be. Right from the start it establishes the goals and protectiveness of the DEA and yet by the end of the movie, the viewer is given a climax akin to a wild west shootout, or even Kill Bill!
There are numerous lines of dialogue that offer more than hints that the protagonists are fully aware of the duel personality of Robert Mazur and yet nothing is done to explain certain actions. Indeed there are several points where the audience is scratching its head in disbelief that the game is not up.
The book was an incredible best seller and the author clearly deserves the recognition, though sadly the big screen adaption is both dull and implausible in parts. For a story based on real events where international money laundering was conducted on an incredible scale, there is virtually no narrative of this in the film. Only the hero’s desire to get to the very top personnel in the Columbian Cartel is given priority.
Set in a time when undercover US Government agents were brutally tortured and murdered if their true identities were found out, The Infiltrator does little to portray the real dangers or lengths agencies would go to to protect their operatives’ identities or families. Perhaps this is why The Infiltrator is nothing more than a Sunday afternoon popcorn matinee when it could have been so much more if it stayed true to the original source.
2 out of 5 Nerds