The Infiltrator Movie Review
Walter White takes on Pablo Escobar in The Infiltrator, a slick, stylish and entertaining investigative thriller that doesn’t exactly push the boundaries of the genre but brings enough goods to make the deal worth it.
Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) stars as U.S. Customs agent Robert Mazur, who went undercover to infiltrate Escobar’s cartel, his work ultimately resulting in one of the biggest sting operations in history. Cranston delivers a strong performance, largely carrying the load as a man torn between his fragile family life and the dangerous work he’s devoted to. Even though The Infiltrator is the Cranston show to some degree, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, and Benjamin Bratt also offer up solid performances.
The true-life story is pretty intense and the sting operation, as shown in the climax, is almost too ridiculous to believe (note: what happens in the climax isn't quite what happened in real life--shocker!). And yet it happened, in some way or form. Of course, The Infiltrator presumably takes plenty of artistic license with reality, and the end product is not something anyone would call as groundbreaking or particularly original. There have been plenty of movies and TV shows about federal agents infiltrating or investigating drug cartels—several featuring Pablo Escobar—and in time, it’s unlikely that The Infiltrator will go down as one of the greats, if it’s even remembered at all.
Still, in the moment, The Infiltrator works, not only due to Cranston and crew’s performances but also the stylish direction by Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer). Furman captures the look and feel of the era well and splices in plenty of nostalgic nods without delving into cheeseball territory. More importantly, the movie operates at a fast pace, the scenes well-constructed and edited. The Infiltrator is entertaining from beginning to end.
Thanks to strong performances by the cast and solid execution by the crew, The Infiltrator is worth seeing. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.