• by Wes Singleton

Review: The Infiltrator, B

Rated R, 127 minutes

The compelling new crime drama "The Infiltrator" is based on Robert Mazur's nonfiction novel of the same name, is a tense account of how he busted some of the most notorious drug traffickers and money launderers in the world in the 1980's. In 1986, federal agent Mazur ("Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston) goes under cover to infiltrate the trafficking network of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Working with fellow agents Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) and Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger), Mazur poses as a slick, money-laundering businessman named Bob Musella. Gaining the confidence of Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt), Escobar's top lieutenant, Mazur navigates a vicious criminal underworld where one wrong move could cost him everything. Directed by "The Lincoln Lawyer's" Brad Furman and written by Ellen Brown Furman, "The Infiltrator" is a gritty, well-acted, slightly overlong drug crime drama that allows Cranston to dive into meatier movie roles following his Emmy-winning as Walter White on TV's "Breaking Bad," a role he'll forever be associated with. Here's he on the right side of the law in one of Mazur's more famous undercover roles and his association with notorious drug kingpin Escobar, who's only briefly featured here. There are some fascinating aspects to his story and some well-handled, choreographed scenes, including a bad car accident and some tense murder scenes, though "Infiltrator" become a little muddled late in its middle act with some unnecessary subplots involving Mazur's wife, who would've rather seen him retire, and there are a few scenes that feel watered down. Cranston is believably superb as Mazur/Masella, capturing both the charm and vulnerability with shades of subtle complexities of being deep undercover, and he's well-supported by a strong supporting cast, including a scene-stealing Leguizamo his foul-mouthed partner, the lovely Kruger as his pretend fiance, Amy Ryan as his hard-nosed boss, and a terrific, hilarious cameo from Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis (of "Moonstruck" and "Steel Magnolias" fame), a charming presence who's been absent from film for too long. "The Infiltrator" is a strong, intense crime drama that's been done before and better (see Steven Soderbergh's 2000 hit "Traffic"), but this is a decent, entertaining entry in the genre.

#theinfiltrator #bryancranston