The Infiltrator


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Infiltrator
"The film is clever. It is violent and merciless, also."

The fashion for "Based on..." movies continues apace. What is it they say about fact being stranger than fiction?

What they mean is that a plot about an undercover cop gaining the trust of a Columbian drugs cartel works better if it is based on a true story, like this one, or else it looks like a collection of eps from the latest HBO detective series.

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You think you have been here before. You think you understand the body language of a man who plays both sides at the same time without wrecking his marriage or losing his mind. Think again, bro.

It requires an actor of quality, in this case Bryan Cranston (Walter White from Breaking Bad), to jack it up a notch and make you feel the fear, not simply dismiss it as a cinematic devise.

He plays Robert Mazur, who had considerable success in busting dealers in Florida in the Eighties. After being wounded on the job he is offered a generous retirement package, which he refuses. "Just one more," he tells his wife.

It's always the same with obsessives. Just one more...

He knows that pulling in million dollar hauls of cocaine is a PR victory for his team and yet they make little difference to the business as a whole. He needs evidence against the money launderers and the assassins.

How to reach them? How to find them? How to disguise his intentions?

The film is clever. It is violent and merciless, also. Mazur's work is so dangerous someone should invent a better word for courage. Going deep, as an agent, is like giving an Oscar performance every minute of every hour. One slip and you're concrete.

What Cranston and scriptwriter Ellen Sue Brown do so well is put a price on treachery. Friendships and emotional ties are bonded into the falsehood of Mazur's artificial persona.

The evil that men do never questions the ethics of betrayal. The Sopranos did, but that was fiction. The Infiltrator does, but that is "Based on."

Take a look. Come closer.

The body is warm. The excitement is real. If it hurts, it works.

Reviewed on: 09 Sep 2016
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The Infiltrator packshot
True life story of an undercover agent who infiltrates the upper circles of a Columbian drugs cartel in the Eighties
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Director: Brad Furman

Writer: Ellen Sue Brown, based on the book by Robert Mazur

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo, Juliet Aubrey, Benjamin Bratt, Amy Ryan, Elena Anaya, Art Malik, Jason Isaacs, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Pare

Year: 2016

Runtime: 127 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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