Film Review: The Infiltrator (Brad Furman, 2016) ★★★

6 comments
(Courtesy of Broad Green Pictures)
Based on true events in 1986, federal agent Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) must go undercover to infiltrate a money-laundering scheme led by infamous drug lord, Pablo Escobar. Posing as a wealthy businessman, Mazur must navigate a vicious criminal underworld where one false move could cost him and his fellow agents their lives.

(Image source)
As with the usual influx of biopics in the run up to Oscar season, The Infiltrator presents a true(ish) story based on the book, The Infiltrator: Undercover in the World of Drug Barons and Dirty Banks, by real-life undercover agent, Robert 'Bob' Mazur. Set in the late 1980s, Bryan Cranston plays Bob - a US Customs official who has risen through the ranks to help infiltrate some of America's most notorious drug cartels. Having turned down his early retirement for one last bust, Bob soon realises that this mission may cost him more than he originally bargained for. With a faint reminder of the Reagan administration in the background, the narrative walks us through the biggest money-laundering bust in US history.

(Image source)
Director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer, 2011) is actually quite good at building up a suspenseful narrative although it is somewhat of a slow burner. Without a doubt, our lead protagonist (and co-producer), Cranston, is really what carries the film. Once again showing his versatility as an actor, Cranston is able to successfully switch between an honest, hard-working family man to a greasy, slicked-back business tycoon with total ease. Furthermore, his ability to do so is utterly believable thus adding to a more shocking side to Bob's character. The drastic change in his character is an excellent portrayal of the depths Bob is willing to go to in order to secure the success of the mission. Alongside his fellow agents, Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) and Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) - Bob's glamourous fake fiancée, Cranston is given a steady platform on which to shine.

(Image source)
What lets The Infiltrator down, however, is the crime/gangster genre clichés which seem to be consistently evident throughout. With regular reminders of Bob's soon retirement, a neglected family and resentful wife back home and his boss busting his balls , there are times when we can't help but feel that we've seen this narrative all too many times before. Similarly, with so many characters and operations going on at once it can be difficult to identify character names, let alone some of their roles within the money laundering scheme. This is mostly redeemed, however, by a few genuinely intense and suspenseful moments. This credit is arguably due to the success of the film’s screenplay, adapted from the book by Furman’s own mother Ellen Brown Furman.

(Image source)
Ultimately, The Infiltrator can be described as nothing more than just OK. Whilst there are some truly great examples of excellent cinematography and Cranston offers up another splendid performance, we can’t help but feel as though both his and Ellen Brown’s talents have gone a little to waste. Let down by some basic genre cliches, there are just too many times when the narrative appears to be rather shapeless as it slowing builds towards a well-executed finale. If you're looking for an easy-view and some Cranston action however, this may just be the one to watch. The Infiltrator gets a Sophie star rating of 3 out of 5 stars and is in cinemas today (16th September).

That's for another film review - what are your favourite Bryan Cranston roles? Will you be seeing The Infiltrator this weekend? As always, I love reading your comments so please do leave me lots of lovely ones below.

Until next time film fans, have an awesome weekend!




SHARE:
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home

6 comments:

  1. I'm a terrible person - I've only seen Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle! We have a very small local cinema that only shows the really big films, which is quite frustrating sometimes. I'm really excited for Captain Fantastic but I'll probably have to go to Inverness to see it, which is an hour's drive! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha ah no! Tbh - those are the big ones haha. He's incredible in Turbo and he's totally wasted in Godzilla. If you've seen him in Breaking Bad though you already know how awesome he is haha. Ah no really? Captain Fantastic is really good if you get a chance to see it! xx

      Delete
  2. I didn't realize how good an actor he was until seeing him in Breaking Bad! I last saw him in the LBJ pic, All the Way, which was on HBO. He gave a strong performance in that but he really shined in Trumbo, imo. Yes, I think Godzilla was very forgettable. I haven't seen this one yet. I guess I'll wait till it gets on streaming. Oh, I managed to watch Hunt for the Wilderpeople and I enjoyed it a lot :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah he's pretty awesome. So glad you enjoyed it - I really hope it does well and more people get a chance to see how brilliant it is. Thanks Gil :) Hope you had a good weekend

      Delete
  3. I was annoyed I missed this in the cinema! It didn't stay in for very long and now it's only showing midweek during the day which is frustrating! Hopefully I'll get to see it soon enough because Bryan Cranston was the only reason I wanted to see it! That and the the fact I loved Narcos on Netflix but it sounds like Pablo Escobar wasn't really a huge part of the film. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I reckon it'll go on Netflix pretty quickly tbh hun! It was good but it's a very Netflix sort of movie in my opinion. Oddly Pablo Escobar seemed to be a big part of selling this although hes only briefly mentioned and you see maybe a quick glance at someone believed to be him but it's still a good movie and Cranston is the bomb.com as usual xx

      Delete

Thank you for your comment. I truly appreciate all of your comments/questions and so I try to respond to all if I can. Remember to pop back to see my reply

PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig