Brian Cranston stars as the undercover agent that brought down the American connections of the Colombian Cartel in the 1980’s. At the height of what they called the war on drugs, one agent comes up with the idea that going after the money is a better idea than going after the drugs. This leads the experienced undercover agent into the most dangerous assignment of his life. Based on the incredible true story of Robert Mazur.
As I watched this film, on a nice sunny morning in Dublin, and we don’t get too many of those, I kept thinking back to the Netflix show Narcos. It’s based around the same time that the Netflix drama is set, and deals with a few of the same people. The reality of both that show and this movie make them for really entertaining viewing. You don’t have to watch one to watch the other but I will say this, because I love you, and you know that, if you are a fan of Narcos you can go see this as an entertainingly amazing addition to that story. I know that the PR people on both sides will shout at me and lock me in that dungeon again for saying that but I will always face danger to bring you an honest movie review. That’s just how I roll.
Cranston plays Mazur, who has made a difference on the War on Drugs by going undercover and getting to the sources to stop the influx of horrid life ending poison from hitting the streets of America. Although you ask yourself if these agencies are so successful in stopping the import of the poison why are there so many addicts around? But that’s not my business. After one sting operation goes wrong he’s offered retirement with full benefits but then the idea hits him that going after the drug dealers cash is the best way to hurt them. He’s teamed up with a more loose cannon agent, played brilliantly by John Leguizamo, who just lives for the undercover work. They infiltrate the higher management of the drug dealers and start to find the cash and how things work within the cartel. One slip up means that a female agent has to be assigned to the group to pose as Cranston’s Fiancé. This role is played by Diane Kruger who is always a pleasure to watch as she can just fit any era with ease. I’m not kidding, every film I see her in she just fits into that setting, it’s as though she’s lived a thousand lifetimes, I wonder if she’s Highlander?
We’re taken through the procedures and the pitfalls of the undercover operation, from the technology used in gathering information, the identity that is used to go in, to meeting a member of the Cartel when out on a date with his real wife, and the dangers that go hand in hand in trying to make the world a better place. I would have preferred if they had gone deeper with the CIA involvement with the drug trade but at least they touch on it. As the undercover identity that Cranston and Leguizamo get deeper into the relationship with the Drug Dealers and their management the level of harm that could happen is made clear. The violence in these sections is brutal and sudden and jars you out of the feeling that you’re watching just a drama to watching a true life crime film.
So, an amazing cast, great direction, and a story that is so interesting I’ve been reading books upon books on the subject. So why is it a 3 out of five then Gar? Well children, the answer is this, there is 100% nothing wrong with this film at all, it’s just that if I had seen this before Narcos I would have probably given it 4 or event 5 out of 5. Narcos has set the bar so high for these types of films now that it’s hard to come close.
I will happily go see this again in the cinema, Cranston is just amazing in anything, the supporting cast is just awesome, and the production values make you feel you are in the 80’s again. If you look at my Wardrobe you would think I never left, but that is for another day. The Infiltrator is a great film that suffers from having a heavyweight cast that can’t deliver the final blow that knocks you out cold.
Director: Brad Furman
Writers: Ellen Sue Brown (screenplay) (as Ellen Brown Furman), Robert Mazur (based on the book on)
Stars: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger