HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Infiltrator
HTS Overall Score:75
Ever since Walter White gained HUGE attention in “Breaking Bad”, character actor Bryan Cranston has shot to the top of popularity in relatively short amounts of time. However, long before he was Walter White, I remember Bryan as the loveable, but goofy, dad in “Malcolm in the Middle”. He has been a personal favorite actor of mine since then, and I have NEVER seen him turn in a bad performance (even if the move he’s involved in is pure and utter garbage). I’ll watching anything the man is in, even if I don’t like the description. While he bounces around from genre to genre, I have noticed that the man really likes to stick with biopics and biographies as a recurring role. First “Trumbo”, then he played Lyndon Johnson, and now Bob Mazur in the latest true to life story (that has of course been fictionalized). “The Infiltrator” is a fun movie that stars a top notch cast, and really kept me glued to the seat despite a rocky middle act.
Based off of the biography of real life customs agent Robert Mazur, Cranston takes on the role of Bob himself in one of his biggest undercover assignments of his career. Back in the 80s Pablo Escabar and his cocaine supply through southern Florida was one of the deciding factors in Reagan and his (now) failed war on drugs. Escabar and his cronies were funneling BILLIONS of dollars worth of cocaine into America and the U.S. Customs department was getting sick of it. Before they were trying to follow the little guys back to the big guys and nab them, but that was proving worthless. Now Mazur figured out that a better idea would be to follow the money back to the bigger guys, and gets assigned as an undercover operative into the Columbian drug cartels as a money launderer, giving them complete access to the big wigs and their finances.
Getting in is actually the easy part. Knowing WHAT to DO is a completely different situation. Using his cover as an Italian businessman, Mazur slows gains the trust of the cartel upper management, and started to set up a line evidence that would bring them all down. Not only that he funneled his funds through one of the world’s largest and banks and soon was getting information that proved that the banks were complicit in the drug schemes, and knew full well what was going through their offices. However, when you get in deep emotions are not always clear. Men that you’re sworn to take down are suddenly friends and orders you have sworn to follow are suddenly looking a lot less black and white.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=82217[/img]“The Infiltrator” starts out with a bang, introducing Robert Mazur in an epic fashion, during an undercover operation that sets up his character with style and panache. Then we get to watch the family man emerge from under than veneer and get to know the real Bob Mazur. However that is short lived as he’s forced into a new role as he gets close to the Columbians. A role that is fascinating to watch as you see him get deeper and deeper into the persona that he’s supposedly just playing. Cranston plays the character to a T, with a sense of honest longing for his home life as well as the dangerous reality that he’s becoming way too involved with these people on an emotional level. I really liked that they didn’t go off the boards with his relationship with Kathy Ertz, the U.S. Customs assigned “wife” for the job (played by the gorgeous Diane Kruger), but instead kept their fake “marriage” as a means to an end instead of delving into the obvious melodrama of split feelings between her and his wife (Juliet Aubrey).
If the movie has a flaw, it’s that it introduces too many characters and tries to give all of them equal billing. Instead of sticking with his relationship with drug kingpin, Roberto Alicaino (played by Benjamin Bratt who seems to be making quite a name for himself as a Latino villain recently), they show Mazur dallying in several different venues. Each of them decently compelling, but never really fleshing out all of the nuances that would have made them really interesting. Alcaino is VERY obviously the big fish they’re trying to fry and the friendship formed with them is the key, but the flitting around from other sub villains does little to keep that story in the mind’s eye.
Rated R for strong violence, language throughout, some sexual content and drug material
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=82225[/img]Broad Green Pictures brings “The Infiltrator” to home video with a nice looking 2.40:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray. Shot on Red cameras the image is crisp and clean, with strong looking blacks as well as a variant of different colors. Several different color gradings are applied to the film to denote the different locations traveled to (Columbia, Tampa Florida, Europe etc). Some of them show soft gold and bright whites that border on blooming, while others get that teal and grey look that is ever popular right now. The old hairstyles of the 80s and the dress is perfectly imitated with great looking detail, but sometimes the color grading and soft diffused look creeps in and lowers the clarity just a tad. Blacks are solid and mostly clear, but the golden color grading can kind of wash them out on occasion.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=82233[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track mirrors the quality of its video encode. Audio is the main focus of the track, but there are several moments of more boisterous activity or immersive moments when Mazur travels to a busy hotel or a dog track where the surrounds get some more active use. Dialog is crisp and intelligible at all times, and the low end is fairly mild, but allows for a few explosive scenes (again, the dog track and a few times where a plane lands out of the sky or the action filled final moments at the wedding), but overall maintains a consistent and mild presence. Surrounds get used quite extensively when called on, but also know when to fade into the background during the more dialog intensive bits. A good track, and one that does everything asked of it with gusto.
• Audio Commentary with Director Brad Furman and Bryan Cranston
• Deleted scenes
• Two featurettes
- "The Three Bobs"
- "How to Infiltrate"
“The Infiltrator” is a fascinating biopic, and one that really is fun to watch. Cranston gives another amazing performance, as does everyone on screen. As I mentioned, there were just too many irons in the fire and that kept this from being a truly great biopic. The life of Robert Mazur is fascinating and surprisingly accurate in comparison to many other biographies made into film, and if you haven’t read his accounting of his time under cover you really should. It’s a great read. The disc is quite nice looking and the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track doesn’t pull any punches either. Broad Green Pictures is a relatively new indie studio, but this was a solid theatrical showing and a feather in their cap for sure. Recommended for a good watch.
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo
Directed by: Brad Furman
Written by: Ellen Sue Brown (Screenplay), Robert Mazur (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1
Studio: Broad Green Pictures
Runtime: 127 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 11th, 2016
Buy The Infiltrator On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Worth a Watch
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