Brad Furman’s new crime thriller, The Infiltrator, starring Bryan Cranston as Mazur, attempts to recreate its subject’s stories from his memoir of the same name. And like Mazur, there’s a sense that Cranston, who hit a feverish fame with Breaking Bad, would like to break out of his Walter White box and get into another man’s skin. He tries with The Infiltrator. Unfortunately, as he performs the acting equivalent of triple backflips, Cranston isn’t given much of a safety net from the script or direction.
Written by Ellen
On the male side, there are more clichés. Cranston has to say, “Take ‘em away, boys,” and the cops just dumbly hold their prisoners, waiting around so a manufactured moment between Mazur and his dupes can insincerely play itself out. But Cranston’s delivery of such cookie-cutter lines is at least credible and forlorn. He really needs his boys to take ‘em away!
Cranston’s Mazur also has to tell his superiors that his loose-cannon new partner Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) is too crazy to work with, pushing the film into serious buddy-cop territory. That’s actually pleasing, though, and gives a glimpse of what might happen if Mazur had been paired with any one character long enough for a connection to develop. Instead, director Furman’s jumpy montage style and editing suggest a less-developed Soderbergh caper. As Mazur gets deeper into the cartel, making friends with higher ups like Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt), our infiltrator becomes less knowable, swallowed by the complex narrative and revolving cast of characters. And since we’re given little information about the extent of Mazur’s undercover work up until this particular bust, it’s impossible to know how out of the ordinary any of these dangerous scenarios are.
Are there scenes that work? Yes. When Mazur’s taken to a nondescript