FRIDAY NIGHT/MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: Last night, I saw “The Infiltrator,” which stars Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad [TV series], Trumbo), John Leguizamo (Ice Age, Moulin Rouge!), Juliet Aubrey (The Constant Gardener, Iris), Amy Ryan (Escape Plan, Birdman: Or [The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance]), Joseph Gilgun (Emmerdale [TV series], Lockout), Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds, National Treasure), and Benjamin Bratt (Despicable Me 2, Law & Order [TV series]). It is directed by Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer, Runner Runner) and the screenplay is written by Ellen Sue Brown. Based on a true story, a U.S. Customs official named Robert Mazur (Cranston) goes undercover to investigate a money laundering scheme involving Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar. He knows the stakes, but the danger becomes all too real when his fake identity is put to the test.
I never expected to see this in theaters, but it stars Bryan Cranston, so it’s gotta be good, right? From the trailers I really didn’t have any interest in this story. It’s a typical drug world release that details the police trying to arrest some of the top dealers. I can’t begin to explain how many times it’s been said and done in cinema, but there has to be something fresh about it to draw a viewer in. There should be, at least. To be honest, I thought that this film was okay. It shares a great deal of aspects you’ve already seen in movies centered around trafficking narcotics, but I believe that “The Infiltrator” has enough pieces to keep you engaged. I just wish that I knew what was going on half of the time. In watching this movie, you will notice how there are a ton of elements being poured into the plot. Several characters, conflicts, and complications arise, and I found trouble keeping track of it all. Cranston’s character of Robert Mazur has the sole job of taking in a list of people working in a drug cartel that smuggles items into Miami, specifically Pablo Escobar. This flick details his journey up the social ladder to get to Escobar, but the issue this film faces is keeping me aware of who is who, and why Mazur is doing what he is doing. There were several individuals working for the cartel. One minute, Mazur is talking to this older guy and a bearded man, trying to warm up to them, and the next he is having a conversation with some fruity guy in white. I knew the end game that Mazur was shooting for; I just didn’t understand the tightrope he was traversing across to get to the ending. If you asked me to explain what happened in this movie, I wouldn’t be able to relay the details. There’s so much crammed into this story, in such a convoluted and diluted way, that it is hard to follow along. But, like I stated before, there are certain things to appreciate about this release. The acting was really good, with Bryan Cranston doing a great job, like always. I didn’t buy into his role too much (a man pushing sixty having kids younger than ten), but I did love seeing him perform. The other performers were fine as no one was really over the top or underwhelming. There was also good chemistry amongst some of the characters like Mazur and Diane Kruger’s character of Kathy Ertz. Another thing I liked was the cinematography. The directing was well done, with shots I liked, and the locations holding interest. However, if there was one thing I would gripe on about how this was filmed, it would be the color tones. This film found trouble in holding middle ground with its colors, as one shot will be grainy orange on a certain day while another will have a sleek blue. It wasn’t balanced to my pleasure, if you asked me. Anything else that I found to be good about this movie would consist in certain scenes. Even though the scope of this release is muddled, there are moments that I did find great, the ending being one. I don’t know how they got to it, but the message they made of making friends while undercover and how there are consequences to that paid off well. Those specific scenes, and the good acting, can make this movie electrifying at times. But, these moments are short and scattered, as the general idea of this film can get lost between the cracks of its many story arcs. I wouldn’t say that this movie is awful, as I did state that it is okay. Would I recommend it? No. It does have its moments though, and if you are a fan of Bryan Cranston, give it a shot. But, if you are looking for a good drama about taking down the drug industry, I would suggest you try something else that packs more of a punch. FINAL SCORE: 70%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: