Sneak Peek: The Infiltrator
From Broad Green Pictures: Based on a true story, Federal agent ROBERT “BOB” MAZUR (Bryan Cranston) goes deep undercover to infiltrate Pablo Escobar’s drug trafficking scene plaguing the nation in 1986 by posing as slick, money-laundering businessman Bob Musella. Teamed with impulsive and streetwise fellow agent EMIR ABREU (John Leguizamo) and rookie agent posing as his fiancé KATHY ERTZ (Diane Kruger), Mazur befriends Escobar’s top lieutenant ROBERTO ALCAINO (Benjamin Bratt). Navigating a vicious criminal network in which the slightest slip-up could cost him his life, Mazur risks it all building a case that leads to indictments of 85 drug lords and the corrupt bankers who cleaned their dirty money, along with the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, one of the largest money-laundering banks in the world. (127 minutes, Rated R)
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo, Benjamin Bratt, Yul Vazquez, Amy Ryan, Olympia Dukakis, Joseph Gilgun
Directed by: Brad Furman
Written by: Ellen Brown Furman
This transcript has been lightly edited:
The Referee: Well, well, well, it looks like the Critic saw a Sneak Peek … of a new movie …
The Critic: (laughter) Yes, The Infiltrator.
Ref: The Infiltrator. And, it is starring none other than the great — and we don’t use that lightly — the great Bryan Cranston.
Ref: It’s directed by Brad Furman. Now, you may or may not know Brad, but he also is known for The Lincoln Lawyer …
Ref: … and Runner Runner, among others. But, it’s written — get this — by Ellen Sue Brown!
Critic: Yes. (laughter) And, she’s credited as Ellen Brown Furman.
Ref: Yes, so we know there’s a connection there.
Critic: Do you know what the connection is?
Ref: Brother and sister?
Ref: Husband and wife?
Critic: That’s his mother.
Ref: Oh! Oh, I’m sorry, Brad. (laughter) Well, anyway, we got the Sneak Peek, and this is none other than one of the highly anticipated movies from Bryan Cranston. Now, we’ve seen him on the small screen a lot; but it’s good to see him, after Trumbo, back on the big screen. Please, please, tell us about this movie.
Critic: Well, you know, Mr. Bryan Cranston plays Robert Mazur. And, this is a real guy; it’s based on a true story. In the ‘80s, he helped to stop the money-laundering organization of Pablo Escobar.
Ref: (laughing) Oh, my!
Critic: Yeah. So, you’re thinking Narcos on Netflix: This is the other side. It’s another way of telling the story. Robert Mazur was a U.S. Customs special agent, who was actually an undercover agent.
Critic: So, he has this whole other alias that he uses to come against these guys. Now, what happens is this: He comes up, and he’s eligible for retirement. But, does he retire? We know what happens. (laughter) So, he decides to stay on for this one last job … we think. And, what happens is: In order to get into the whole Escobar situation, he has to go to another special agent, played by John Leguizamo.
Ref: Oh. Smells like trouble.
Critic: Exactly. So, the two of them have their own ideas of how to do this, and we see how that relationship plays out. John Leguizamo, I think, is hilarious whenever you see him. It’s just a great job on his part. … But, he [Mazur] also has to consider his family. He has two young kids at home. He has a wife, and his wife is very understanding. So, she’s not the nagging wife.
Ref: Oh, thank God.
Critic: Yes, I really appreciated that. She’s very understanding, but there are limits. There are limits, because, remember, he could be retired. So, we see how all of this plays out. We see how he tries to separate his undercover life from his family life. And, does he do that well? You’ll have to watch it to find out. Also, to end it here — when you go undercover, the question is: Can you really divorce yourself from the people that you’re meeting, that you’re befriending — from those relationships? Can you hold all of that in your head? Or, will you be pulled in by them in any way, especially emotionally?
Critic: What happens when the jig is up? How do you respond to that? So, that’s basically what happens. Of course, I can’t give you everything that’s a part of the movie.
Ref: Please don’t.
Critic: I mean, yeah, it’s a crime-thriller. … Now, for the review …
Ref: Yes, please.
Critic: So, we’ve seen these kinds of movies. …
Ref: All right. I see how you’re shifting already. (laughter)
Critic: We’ve seen these kinds of TV shows. We’ve seen ‘em, right? Now, what was shrewd of you, Ref, is you brought up The Lincoln Lawyer.
Critic: If you’ve seen The Lincoln Lawyer and you liked it, you’ll like this.
Ref: OK, so, that’s a particular movie, though.
Critic: It is. Now, I would say this is probably slightly better than The Lincoln Lawyer. But, for me, it was kinda close. I could tell: OK, same director. Great, got that. Now, the main selling point of this movie … and, everybody, just so you know, the Ref is trying to distract me (laughter) … the main selling point of this movie is the cast.
Ref: Of course, of course. It’s a great cast.
Critic: Bryan Cranston — this is what I talk about: Land your lines; know your moments; know your beats; know your beat changes. He’s brilliant at it. OK? Brilliant. If you want to know how to do it, listen to his line-readings. It’s always in rhythm; it’s always right; it’s always on the thought. The thought! And, not the slang, thot, OK? So, there we go. (laughter) Also, I mentioned Leguizamo. I think it was great. He also does drama, now. He doesn’t play around. Diane Kruger plays a woman who’s brought in to go undercover with them because of Bryan Cranston’s character’s problems: He makes a mistake and has to bring her in. And, that was great casting, as well! Because, she can play someone who, of course, is beautiful and all of that, but there’s something going on underneath the surface. She’s more than she seems. His wife! — now, look, let me talk about his wife for a second — his wife, played by Juliet Aubrey, if you’ve seen Middlemarch, the British miniseries, she was in that. …
Ref: Yep. Yep, yep, yep.
Critic: She was in Iris. She has very little to say, really, but you can see it. The acting: I could see that she has been through this many times. She understands. She doesn’t quite like it, but she’s supporting her husband. It’s almost over. All of that stuff was there — great. And, Benjamin Bratt actually plays …
Ref: I was waiting for that one.
Critic: … one of Escobar’s top chiefs that Bryan Cranston befriends. And, he did a great job!
Critic: So, really, the cast, I think, is the reason to watch this, because the script — just to end here …
Ref: I know.
Critic: … the script — some of the dialogue: Mmm. And, the cast was so good. They didn’t need to say it. We already got the message before they even said the line. And, I’ll just give you one example, and we’ll end it here: So, we have Bryan Cranston. We have John Leguizamo. They’re talking about informants. And, Bryan Cranston’s character calls them snitches. And, John Leguizamo says, “Well, you know, they like to be called informants.” And, Bryan Cranston says to him, “Well, look, they’re walking on the dirty side of the street. OK? And, then, they want to come over to the side that’s been swept. But, they still have mud on their shoes.” And, John Leguizamo’s character says, “Is that Shakespeare?” (laughing) So, that’s what you get in this movie. (laughter) So, I would say, it is entertaining. If you stick with it, it does ratchet up the suspense, which I appreciated. And, you get a little bit of humor.
Critic: Just watch out for Olympia Dukakis, OK? (laughing) … who plays Bryan Cranston’s aunt. (laughter) So, overall, good — good movie.
Ref: I like that review. It’s definitely something that you can check out. Now, question: Do you need to go to the movies to see this?
Critic: If you are a fan of this genre, you won’t be disappointed by that. I’ll say it that way. However, if you think: Oh, this sounds like something I can snuggle up, watch at home. It would work great that way. Again, think: Lincoln Lawyer — and I don’t think you’ll go too wrong. It’s just — it’s a little beefed up because of the cast. Even though, I liked The Lincoln Lawyer’s cast, too.
Ref: Oh, all right. Well, you heard it here, folks.