Rated: R for strong violence, language throughout, some sexual content and drug material. Reviewed by: Matt Release date: July 13, 2016 Released by: Broad Green Pictures
The Infiltrator is a star studded crime drama staring Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, and Benjamin Bratt. The story takes place in the 1980's when the U.S. was trying to crack down on drug trafficking and money laundering.
The Story follows U.S. Customs Service special agent Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) as he attempts to, as the name of the film suggests, infiltrate a major cartel in the hopes of bringing down the organization run by the drug lord Pablo Escobar. He, along with his partner Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) create false identities in order to lie their way into the organizations. Along the way the begin to interact with a major member of the cartel Roberto Alcaina (Benjamin Bratt), who serves as the go between then and Escobar.
There's plenty to say about this film, for starters the acting. Everyone gives a very great performance in this film. I don't believe I found one performance I disliked. Of course Bryan Cranston stands out among them as he brings a similar performance to that of his time on the television show Breaking Bad. It worked well for him then and it continues to work for him now. But that's not to say the others in this film fell behind. John Leguizamo and Benjamin Bratt both gave excellent performances. Diane Kruger, who plays Robert Mazur's fake finance, Kathy Ertz, also gave an excellent performance.
However, despite some stellar acting there are plenty of flaws in the film, some of them major. The biggest is the overall story progression. While there's nothing wrong with the story it's tension is very low. For a crime drama about infiltrating a major drug cartel I never really felt as if the main characters were in any real danger, in spite of the film efforts to tell me how much danger they are in. And when actual tension begins to mount and you fear they may get discovered the film quickly kills that tension and moves on with the story. For me this is a major problem as films like this should have me sitting on the edge of my seat but instead left me wanting more. My other big complaint is that they seemed to start plot lines and never finish them. In fact before the finale of the film John Leguizamo just sort of became a side character in the film, despite being the partner of the main character and doesn't show up or have any meaningful scenes until the end.
In the end, The Infiltrator is a well acted film. However, the movie never packs the punch it should leaving me with a somewhat unsatisfied feeling at the end of the movie. Despite this though if you like crime dramas then I would recommend checking it out, if not for the acting alone. Everyone else though can just skip this one.