By G. Palmer (Cape Canaveral FL.)
All the slick television ads really sucked me in for this one. I thought that I was going to see a 1980’s era story about Pueblo Escobar and the Medellin Cocaine Cartel. The Infiltrators was the inside story of a DEA agent (Brian Cranston) and his life being undercover. The movie went back and forth telling the agents story as a family man and as his role in a DEA operation involving Money Laundering for Major Colombian Drug dealers. The plot centers on Cranston as the lead “Banker” and his DEA partner. They soon are joined by a career criminal who they spring from jail to play the part of a sleazy “muscle” in there criminal enterprise. As they build a clientele with drug dealers needing help to launder there money they then start to ensnare Legitimate Bankers who are willing to take huge amounts of cash, without asking any questions. As the plot unfolds Cranston starts telling the Bankers exactly what they are getting involved with. The predictable story line has Cranston’s marriage starts to strain as he was offered retirement but turned it down to stay with the action.
The movies’ violence is mostly shooting deaths and Cranston is involved in a bad car wreck that kills an associate. When Cranston’s serious relationship is discovered by accident the DEA sends in another agent to play Cranston’s fiancée. Cranston forgets his own anniversary and when dining with his real wife and is forced to introduce her as a secretary and also assaults their waiter to maintain his cover. Cranston’s marriage is shot as his wife has clearly had enough and wants no part of the dark side of DEA undercover. It seems the final straw is a bloody envelope that ends up in the hands of Cranston’s young daughter. The plot of the movie follows along a predictable line and I am making an effort in this review to not reveal the pace and exact story lines of the movie. Cranston and his “fiancée” develop a close relationship with a high level Colombian drug dealer. Tension builds as the bosses in Columbia place building pressure on Cranston and his handling of their money.
I was disappointed in The Infiltrators. Advertising for this movie promised a story about Don Pablo Escobar and his Cocaine Cartel. Escobar was involved in this movie and plot in only the slightest of ways. Several references to Pablo by the DEA and other characters in the film and one scene where Escobar is said to have just walked by. Escobar is a fascinating, compelling figure but he really played almost no real role in this movie or story line. Maybe they knew Pablo Escobar’s name and legend would sell more movie tickets, and that’s fine. This was a movie based on real Events. And maybe that’s part of the problem. The Infiltrators was based on DEA/FBI Investigation that took down dozens involved in the money laundering worldwide. That probe took down some really big fish.
To tell that story in any real way , you would need much longer than 2 hours and 10 minutes. I really like Brian Cranston, he did have some bright moments in this film and I was so glad when Benjamin Bratt showed up halfway through. Bratt provided more than your average Latino drug dealer. But for me this film lacked any real character development. They tried to merge too many story lines and the film was confusing. I did not like the film very much and I will need to watch it again to fully understand it. I thought it was dark and wasted the locations they filmed on. The film seemed choppy. There was basically the same tempo and pace the whole way thru. Sorry, I like to get my ten bucks back!
Evelyn Mazur: Did it go okay?
Robert Mazur: Oh, yeah. Piece of cake.
Evelyn Mazur: Has your undercover died?
Robert Mazur: He’s dead alright.
Robert Mazu: [to Evelyn] This is what I do. I’m an undercover narcotics agent, I sit with murderers and made men and I lie. I lie my ass off.
Bonni Tischler: Listen up; Washington wants to make the biggest bust in US history, Pablo Escobar and his main distributor, Roberto Alcaino.
Emir Abreu: Are you kidding me?
Bonni Tischler: Responsible for eighty percent of the product flooding into the country.