For fans of “Breaking Bad” who are itching to see Walter White in action again, well, he isn’t in The Infiltrator. There is hope though for fans of Bryan Cranston, whose superb acting made White an iconic character. Cranston is Robert Mazur in The Infiltrator, and he’s got his hands dirty once again with drugs and money. This time, he’s on the other side of the law, working undercover to bring down the Colombian cartel led by none other than Pablo Escobar.
The Infiltrator focuses on the money laundering activities of the Colombian cartel in the 1980s, as President Ronald Reagan enacts his war on drugs. U.S. Customs officer Mazur sees an opportunity to nab as many cartel guys as possible by following the money, not the drugs. It works, and he soon finds himself as the go-to money man for the cartel. That honor does not come without consequences, fear, and death–all things that make The Infiltrator an enjoyable viewing experience. Cranston infuses Mazur, who is a real person outside of the filmic world, with a fragileness that is matched by an unwillingness to quit when danger is around each turn. His life, the lives of his family members, are all at stake, and one wrong move (or word) means death. The Infiltrator builds suspense, and creates a tangled web where you aren’t quite sure what team Mazur is actually playing for. Undercover life in a cartel isn’t simple, and The Infiltrator demonstrates that all too well.
There are a great deal of characters in The Infiltrator, and at times it can be confusing as to how they each play into the story as a whole. But the basics are covered, with Mazur’s partner Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) portraying the unconventional undercover agent who, when covered in blood from a gun shot to a man’s head, can smile with conviction, while his eyes scream with fear. Then there is Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger), Mazur’s undercover fiance who may appear to just be a pretty face until she manages to put a spell over every cartel member she meets. The list goes on of interesting characters in The Infiltrator, and each and every one offers something different for the viewer. It is the characters that ultimately make The Infiltrator very appealing and enjoyable, because while they could have been cookie-cutter creations they are not by far. Each one displays a range of emotions and is fighting their own demons while existing in a world that some could argue is where demons are created and thrive.
The Infiltrator may not feature Pablo Escobar, but it doesn’t need him to draw you in. The other players in his cartel are just as interesting–possibly even more so–and this is a movie that will have you wanting more from them.