Bryan Cranston in a leading role in a gritty crime drama. What else is new? The Infiltrator offers a fun thriller, but a largely forgettable affair. However, it is based on true events, therefore something unusual and interesting must be afoot to validate a screenplay and interest from Cranston.
The Infiltrator‘s man claim to dramatic tension lies in Robert Mazur’s (Cranston) work as a police infiltrator. He choses to put himself in danger, despite an opportunity to retire earlier due to previous incidents and scars. For what he says will be his final mission, he investigates and infiltrates a group of money-launderers hiding cocaine dealing on a mass, global scale. He starts out with a few targets, but as he has to feign his own integration with the criminal world, he finds himself unsure how far he can go.
The film really has its moments. Sequences when Mazur accidentally invents a fake fiance character, (enter Diane Kruger as Kathy Ertz), and the humour surrounding their fictional relationship within the context of their disguise and their inconsistencies is a strong point. Knowing that every relationship that Mazur builds is a means to an end leads to intruiging dialogues about trust and loyalty, but nothing really subtantial.
However, it is a film built on moments rather than consistency. The plot is consistency muddling and there are so many criminals that we’re supposed to get to know very quickly and really care for when we know their’s and their family’s fates. It doesn’t quite hold together. There’s simply too much going on and not enough of it is interesting. A crime drama should be full of questions about the crime and why it is committed more than trying to surprise you with as many twists and turns as possible. Its’ not necessarily the film’s fault, but nowhere enough focus is given to the strain on Mazur’s marriage, because Juliet Aubrey’s portrayal of Evelyn Mazur is probably the stand-out performance for me. Reminding us that this whole endeavour is a day job out of hand. It made me yearn for Spotlight‘s successes in portraying the strain of the long process of uncovering the truth, rather than the glamourisation and misty portrayal of whatever crime this was originally trying to shame.
Close-ups of a strong performance of Bryan Cranston do not an excellent film make. A solid 100 minute movie is in The Infiltrator, but an occasionally humourous but mostly middling and almost plotless two hours is what you have to put up with.