The Infiltrator full movie review - "The Infiltrator" is an engaging and entertaining true story which sticks close to the truth.
Bryan Cranston is such a great actor that his chameleon-like performances leave audiences wondering if there's any part that he can't play.
Although he had taken on many roles in TV and movie dramas going back to the early 1980s, he first became well-known as a comic actor. Between 1994 and 2006, he played dentist Tim Whatley in "Seinfeld", another character named Tim in "The King of Queens" and became a three-time Emmy nominee for playing the inept but loving father on "Malcolm in the Middle". Soon after that show, Cranston's career took a more serious turn when he became high school chemistry teacher turned meth cook and, later, drug kingpin Walter White in "Breaking Bad", a role that brought him six more Emmy nods and four wins. But Cranston has never stopped doing comedy.
While still doing "Breaking Bad", he had recurring roles on "How I Met Your Mother", "The Cleveland Show" and "Robot Chicken". He has also voiced characters in the "Madagascar" and "Kung Fu Panda" film franchises. Meanwhile, Cranston had important roles in dramatic movies like 2014's "Godzilla" and in three Best Picture Oscar nominees ? "Saving Private Ryan", "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Argo", the last of which won the award, and then he earned his first individual Oscar nomination for playing the lead in 2015's "Trumbo". Bryan Cranston's talent for disappearing into a character serves him especially well as undercover U.S. Customs agent Robert Mazur in the biographical crime drama "The Infiltrator" (R, 2:07).
Mazur was one of the best in the business ? and has gone down in history as one of the most effective. As "The Infiltrator" opens, we see Mazur working undercover as a street-level drug dealer trying to bust a local south Florida drug ring. He's injured in the operation and is offered the opportunity to retire with benefits, but he thinks there's more good that he can do. Fellow agent Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) comes to Mazur with what he says is a lead into the international drug operations of none other than Columbia's Medellin Cartel chief Pablo Escobar. Emir is street-wise, but Mazur thinks he's a bit of a loose cannon. Still, Mazur finds the prospect of breaking into Escobar's empire too tantalizing to pass up.
After appropriate preparations (including finding and adopting a new name ? Bob Musella), Mazur is posing as a high-level businessman who can help the cartel launder its drug money. As Musella, he gets deep into that world through contacts established by Emir, gets some credibility and important advice from convict Alexander Biscuiti (Joseph Gilgun), who is sprung from prison to help out, and even from his gutsy, but morally ambiguous aunt (Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis). Also along for the ride (and playing a major role in the operation) is Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger), on her first deep cover mission, playing the role of Musella's fiancé, partly because of a noble but dangerous mistake by Musella himself.
Eventually, Musella gets to meet (and, along with Kathy, become close personal friends with) top Escobar lieutenant Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt). In order to bring this very complicated and perilous sting to a successful conclusion, Musella must deal with corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) bankers (played by Saïd Taghmaoui and Art Malik), shady informants (Juan Cely and Michael Paré), unpredictable Medellin cartel members (Yul Vázquez and Rubén Ochandiano), supportive but sometimes unreasonable supervisors (Amy Ryan and Jason Isaacs) and the constant danger to his team, his understanding but frightened wife, Evelyn (Juliet Aubrey), and their three young children.
"The Infiltrator" is an engaging and entertaining true story which sticks close to the truth. Screenwriter Ellen Sue Brown and director Brad Furman take a few understandable liberties with the actual story in order to make their movie clear and cohesive, but they manage to make an actual international banking scandal from the 1980s interesting and they don't waste Movie Fans' time with unnecessary exposition. The climactic scene is fabricated, but is fairly close to what happened in the operation and makes for a terrific closing to the story. Cranston's acting is fantastic as he portrays a real person whose job and very life depended on effectively playing a role for some very ruthless people. The rest of the cast is equally exceptional, making for one of the best and most diverse ensembles of 2016. The overall content of "The Infiltrator" is a little too ambitious and its spirit a bit too subdued, but it's well worth a look. "B+"