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The Infiltrator (Bryan Cranston) - Review

The Infiltrator

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

BRYAN Cranston fakes bad to make good in The Infiltrator, a superior crime drama based on the true story of the federal agent who successfully infiltrated Pablo Escobar’s drugs cartel at the height of its power.

The Breaking Bad luminary may be on the right side of the law on this occasion but there are times when his character, customs agent Robert Mazur, must tap into his darker side in order to maintain his cover. And it’s during these moments that the spirit of Walter White is alive and well.

Elsewhere, however, Cranston’s hero gets put through the emotional wringer as new alliances with cartel bigwigs bring about dangers to both himself and his family, as well as ‘friendships’ that inevitably involve acts of betrayal.

But it’s in its depiction of this dubious morality and its psychological effect that Brad Furman’s film really excels, heightening the tension of an already incredible situation, while keeping things human. And just as there are moments when Mazur looks like he could be tempted by the power his cover brings him, so too are there moments that show the everyman qualities of the people he’s attempting to put away: none more so than with Benjamin’s Bratt’s power player Roberto Alcaino.

Hence, while The Infiltrator could be accused of following a tried and tested path, there remains a freshness here that keeps things utterly compelling. And the performances, all round, feel real.

Cranston is typically superb but also of note are the likes of John Leguizamo, as his street-wise partner; Joseph Gilgun, as an unlikely ally; Amy Ryan, as his tough-talking boss; Juliet Aubrey, as his quietly suffering wife, and Diane Kruger, as his fake fiancée and partner.

Furman, meanwhile, also maintains a nice balance between the human drama and the action, which arrives swiftly but is brutally executed. As a result, the ruthlessness of the cartels is never beyond question, while an uncertainty over when (or if) they will strike looms large over proceedings.

Overall, The Infiltrator is a smartly constructed, emotionally involving, character-driven drama that lifts the lid on a fascinating chapter on America’s war against drugs. It’s essential viewing and an ideal companion piece for anyone currently addicted to Netflix TV series Narcos.

Read our exclusive interview with Juliet Aubrey

Certificate: 15
Running time: 2hrs 7mins
UK Release Date: September 16, 2016