Peter Feldman
1 minute read
16 Sep 2016
4:25 pm

‘The Infiltrator’ a perfectly executed cartel drama

Peter Feldman

Bryan Cranston is a superb actor. He made a name in the iconic TV series Breaking Bad and was nominated this year for an Oscar for Trumbo.

The Infiltrator

Now Cranston gets to show his acting chops again in this riveting slice of cinema that takes viewers on a dangerous journey into the heart of the drug trade in America. Based on a true story, Cranston portrays Federal agent Robert “Bob” Mazur, who goes deep undercover to infiltrate Pablo Escobar’s Columbian drug trafficking business that was plaguing the country in 1986.

He posed as slick, money-laundering businessman Bob Musella. He was teamed with streetwise fellow agent Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) and a rookie agent posing as his fiancé, Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger).

Mazur befriends Escobar’s top lieutenant, Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt), and is soon in a vicious criminal network in which the slightest slip up could cost him his life. It’s an amazing story. A fascinating aspect is observing how an undercover cop can confuse his true identity with that of the “character” he is playing, and it requires a steely will to stay on course.

Director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) has used Mazur’s autobiography as the film’s framework, and he does an excellent job. The Infiltrator is not an action movie with high-speed car chases and gun fights, but a slow-burning exploration of how the “money” was used in the war on drugs. Furman keeps a palpably tight rein on the film, and the tension is at times suffocating, and this is the film’s major asset.

Another is the quality of the ensemble cast. Led by Cranston, the actors do sterling jobs. The Infiltrator is a compelling exercise that focuses more on the psychological impact of Mazur’s situation rather than relying on action sequences. Watching how things play out is mesmerising.

Watch trailer