Brad Furman’s The Infiltrator tells the true story Robert Mazur; a man who went undercover to uncover large scale drug and money laundering operations.
Bryan Cranston plays Robert Mazur and his performance can’t be described as anything but magnetic. He nails every necessary beat throughout and crafts a compelling presence that you can’t help but invest in. Cranston has shown a remarkable ability to throw himself into roles. Look no further than Breaking Bad to see a clear example of that with this film adding to that.
Mazur’s emotional journey is about what you’d expect for a film like this. At first it’s just another job then things escalate once he finds himself far too close to the situation before he has to decide whether he follows through on what he started. As I said above Cranston is magnetic throughout and makes Mazur’s declining emotional state believable. Considering a lot of his performance is pretending that he’s acting it never feels mechanical.
Despite Cranston’s excellent performance the rest of the film can’t help but feel a little too mechanical. The story plays out in a really predictable way with all the necessary story beats having nothing to surprise hidden in there. That doesn’t make it a bad film but it does feel very by the numbers. I suppose the facts are the the facts but I wonder if they could have been presented in some other way or maybe this story would have been better told as a documentary.
Other actors deliver impressive performances as well. John Leguizamo injects a lot of personality into his small role and Diane Kruger impresses in a role I thought was going to be far smaller than it ended up being. I would have liked to see more of Amy Ryan as Cranston’s hard nosed boss but unfortunately her role is very small. It’s clear that Ryan had a lot of fun with the role so it’s a shame there wasn’t more of it.
The best developed relationship in the film is between Cranston’s Mazur and Benjamin Bratt’s Roberto Alcaino. The friendship that the two men develop feels very genuine and it almost becomes the core of the film as the end of Mazur’s mission will also implicate Alcaino. Alcaino is well developed as being someone who operates outside of the law but isn’t necessarily a bad person.
Mention is made of what the U.S. Government is involved in which allows him to exploit certain loop holes. The point is that Alcaino is a family man who just so happens to get his money through illegal means. Cranston plays the quiet guilt perfectly and I found myself becoming invested in their friendship. If the facts could have been manipulated in a certain way then the film could have been about this friendship and the inevitable betrayal
An entertaining if predictable experience that is elevated by the excellent performances. Bryan Cranston in particular shines throughout and sells the predictable emotional beats really well. With a little more work this film could have had a really solid emotional core built on friendship and betrayal but instead it feels a little mechanical. It’s not a bad film but could have been so much better.
- Bryan Cranston’s magnetic performance
- the other actors doing a great job
- a really well developed friendship
- a predictable story
- the failure to focus on the most interesting aspects of the story