Movie Review: “The Infiltrator”

Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Benjamin Bratt, Diane Kruger, Amy Ryan, Olympia Dukakis, Jason Isaacs
Brad Furman

Like director Brad Furman’s 2011 film, “The Lincoln Lawyer,” his latest movie, “The Infiltrator,” is an assured piece of filmmaking that spins a familiar tale extremely well. This true-life story is a consistently engaging look at a man and woman living duel lives. Will they get in so deep that they forget who they are? Furman and screenwriter Ellen Sue Brown (who also happens to be the director’s mother) answer that clichéd question with genuine nuance and thrills.

Set in 1985, Robert “Bob” Mazur (Bryan Cranston) – whose real-life counterpart worked as a consultant on Furman’s “Runner Runner” – is a U.S. Customs agent who’s given the chance to retire early and spend more time at home with his wife and kids following an injury at work. Instead, he pursues another job involving Pablo Escobar, who mostly remains in the shadows of this story. Posing as a successful money launderer named Bob Musella, he attempts to cripple Escobar’s organization by bringing down his top people, including Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt), a criminal that Bob befriends. Joining Bob on his undercover mission are agents Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) and Emir Ebreu (John Leguizamo), who must put aside their personal differences and work together in order to take down some of the world’s most powerful drug lords and corrupt bankers from the inside.

Bryan Cranston, who co-starred in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” is fantastic as Mazur. Rarely do undercover agents in movies feel this vulnerable. Mazur isn’t played as an agent that can take out five guards without a problem, but he’s extremely competent and smart at his job, even if his smarts aren’t always enough for the job. Even in seemingly mundane conversations in “The Infiltrator,” death is only a few flubbed words or a wrongly remembered lie away for the character. The stakes are always high, and Cranston makes the audience feel those stakes in the briefest of moments sometimes. When Robert witnesses two murders, the actor doesn’t play it cool; his response is either of shock or horror. In these extraordinary situations, Cranston reacts normally. The actor helps make the reality and the sense of danger palpable, and the same goes for Kruger and Leguizamo.

Read the rest of this entry »


You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

24 Blog: 9.1/9.2 – Good Morning Britain


Aaaaaaaaand we’re back! First, I’d like to thank Fox for giving me a four-year vacation from blogging “24.” It was much needed, long overdue, and I enjoyed every minute of it, but I am refreshed and ready for duty, sir. So, what are we doing this year?

Ah, of course: we’re doing the same damn thing, only in London.

To be fair, the setup for this season isn’t awful; it’s just not any different than any other season. Jack Bauer, a wanted man in three countries, is still carrying out his duties as a counter-terrorist agent, despite the fact that his own countrymen consider him a terrorist. They’ve done this before, you may remember, when he began a season undercover as an employee for a Mexican drug cartel. Wasn’t that adorable? At least this premise makes more sense. Jack has always fought to protect the best interests of the United States; he just didn’t have much of a filter when it came to interrogating anyone he considered an enemy of the state. Foreign, domestic, whatever. If you mess with the USA, you will answer to me.

And who is the president now? Why, none other than Big Dick Heller! This is a contrived move but a savvy one as well. He’s a much-loved supporting character by “24” fans, and as an added bonus, Jack’s involvement with Big Dick’s daughter Audrey led to her abduction and subsequent torture at the hands of the Chinese government. Audrey is now married to Big Dick’s chief of staff Mark Boudreau (official “24” nickname: Hercules, because yes, he was the voice of Hercules in the 1997 Disney movie), and he doesn’t want Jack’s name even mentioned in front of Audrey, for fear it will cause her to relapse into the catatonic state that she was in when we last saw her. But that’s all busy plot stuff. What is really happening here?


“They said, ‘Hey, you’re blonde, awesome, when can you start?’ Easiest, audition, ever. Wait, is there a catch?”

Someone’s plotting to kill Big Dick on foreign soil, and they just did a test run on the murder weapon (a US drone, which is as heavy-handed as irony gets) by hijacking a drone pilot’s memory key and setting him up for the fall. Off-the-grid Jack intercepted intel that mentioned an assassination attempt on Big Dick, which is why he allowed himself to get caught by the CIA so he can break out Chloe, who’s gone all Wikileaks since we last saw her, and was being held in the CIA equivalent of Zed’s basement, only with torture instead of rape.

This might sound loyal or even romantic, but really, he broke her out because the person responsible for the drone strike is one of her now-former coworkers, who thankfully doesn’t live to the end credits of the second hour, for a couple of reasons. The guy is rightly paranoid about being afraid for his life since dead men collect no cash, yet he doesn’t suspect that the undersexed Russian Barbie doll he calls a girlfriend might be in fact an English assassin employed to kill him (hell, he didn’t even notice that she was wearing a wig). That needed to happen. Thank you, Fox. We may curse your name later but for now, we thank you. And bonus points for having her twist the knife in his head. That was a nice extra dose of nastiness.

Each blog post is based on a song title, and this week’s title comes courtesy of my lovely wife, after I complained that all of the songs with “London” in the title didn’t quite fit (I’m going to save those for later, with the hope that they might work out). The funny thing is that this song was co-written by Roddy Frame, who’s Scottish, but he has Mick Jones, a member of UK rock royalty, joining him, so it’s all good.


Related Posts