The Infiltrator (2016)
Cast includes: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Juliet Aubrey (The Constant Gardener), Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck), John Leguizamo (Ice Age), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter franchise), Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds), Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order), Jordan Loughran (The Skin I live In), Daniel Mays (Atonement)
Director: Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer)
Screenplay: Ellen Brown Furman (Can I be Honest?), Book by Robert Mazur
Genre: Drama | Suspense | Biography (127 minutes)
“The last guy who paid me… he paid me with a gram,” says the bowling alley waitress. Obviously, Bob gives off that kind of vibe, but he’s here for a different transaction. “How’s 10 key’s?” Frankie asks. “Not to heavy for me,” says Bob… but first things first. There’s the subtle swap of bowling bags, and today’s deal is done. “Jesus God!!!” What is it? “Gallbladder, heart attack… something…” Bob is writhing in pain. In the chaos, the raid comes off without a hitch. At last… it’s good to get home from another undercover operation… kids asleep, wife hoping this really is the last one. Aunt Vicky thinks Bob needs a little advice… “Be somebody, Bobbie.” Bob straddles a line between high-stakes danger and ordinary family life.
“Bond denied.” Looks like a good collar, and Bob is actually eligible for full retirement with benefits. “Anybody home?” It’s Emir… just about the last person Bob ever wants to see… and when Bob doesn’t answer the front door, Emir comes around to the back. He’s got a snitch whose selling information and he hopes to bring Bob in on the project. Bob wants nothing to do with it. Emir is a loose cannon, and he’s going to get Bob killed. But afterwards it gets him thinking… “We’ve been going about this all wrong. Instead of chasing drugs to get to the bad guys, what we should be following is the money.” The problem is that if he’s going to do this, he has to work with Emir… the only one who can get Bob connected. So instead of retiring, Bob starts on a new bust… one that’s going to take time and get very dangerous. He’s going to pose as an accountant offering money-laundering services. “Little by little… after you’ve seen what we can do…” Bob needs to work his way up from these local Mafia guys to the Columbian traffickers… guys like Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel.
Based on a memoir by Robert Mazur, The Infiltrator is as suspenseful as any fictional crime thriller. In 1986, Nancy Reagan is telling us to “Just say no.” (Yup… that’ll work!) Over time, Bob is able to move up the ladder while secretly recording conversations and following transactions for the big bust that will hopefully be worth the wait. Back at the U.S. Customs Service, they’re chomping at the bit. They’re thinking about the bird in hand. “You’ve got to give me time.” Bob Mazur is no James Bond… he’s a family man, always trying to balance work and family life. As Bob gets closer to the head of the snake, the stakes get higher. “You fuck this up and they will kill you, they will kill your wife and they will kill your children… not easy deaths, either.” Like a Bond film, we go to exotic locations… seeing both the dark side and the glamor. Bryan Cranston is excellent as the Bob Mazur… but that shouldn’t surprise Breaking Bad fans. No obvious special effects, no characters with super powers… this is a traditional crime thriller with characters who are, above all, human and flawed. The direction is excellent, as is the script… fun fact: screenplay by the director’s mother. As the plot thickens, Bob finds himself becoming attached to people he’s planning to betray. After all, you can’t win their trust without forging a personal connection. “Without family or friends, what kind of world would this be? There’d be no reason to be alive.” Oh, how true.
4 popped kernels
The true story of the Reagan-era bust of the Medellin Drug Cartel
Rated: R (Language, Violence, Crime, Drugs)
Audience: Young Adults and Grown-ups
Gender Style: Macho
Distribution: Mainstream Wide Release
Tempo: Zips Right Along
Visual Style: High-End Production
Nutshell: Columbian drug bust