THE INFILTRATOR (2016) 4.5 STARS (out of 5)

the-infiltrator-2016-movie-posterBryan Cranston, at age 60, is at the top of his game. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, he has become one of our most versatile and prolific American actors. He has found success on both television and in the movies. Today, we sometimes forget that he began his career doing comedy on television sitcoms. He had major roles in Malcolm in the Middle, King of Queens and Seinfeld.

Playing Walter White on the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad, he won four Prime time Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. As one of the producers of Breaking Bad, he also won two awards for Outstanding Drama Series.

His filmography includes great work in Saving Private Ryan, Little Miss Sunshine, John Carter, Argo and Godzilla.

Two years ago, Cranston won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way on Broadway. Last year, Cranston was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award — for Best Actor of the Year in TRUMBO (2015).

In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Mr. Cranston indicated that he has always followed “the well written word”. In THE INFILTRATOR, he was attracted to the work of Robert Mazur, for his long term undercover work and for living a double life. Mr. Cranston said, “The challenge is dealing with a person on multiple levels. You come to see the good, even in these people.” There is great irony in playing Walter White and now Robert Mazur. The film is based upon an autobiography written by Mr. Mazur, who helped to bust Pablo Escobar’s money-laundering narcotics empire by using his alias, “Bob Musella”. Instead of going after the drugs, Mazur decides to go after the money.

Brad Furman, who directed THE INFILTRATOR, also commented in the same Charlie Rose interview: “It was the movie I had to make. It is a film about a true American hero. Mazur is a moral compass. Intellectually he had to do a job. Emotionally, you feel with your heart. How do you reconcile the friendships and the ultimate betrayal that comes after two and a half years?” Mr. Furman not only served as director, but also was the lead producer, and supervised the musical direction. His mother, Ellen Brown Furman, wrote the script.

It is my hope that Bryan Cranston will be remembered six months from now and be nominated again for a Best Actor Oscar. His role playing the U.S. Customs special agent is absolutely flawless. Once again, he portrays such a complex character, a man on the edge. He not only plays the part of Mazur, but is also playing the part of Mazur playing Musella! He is the best thing about this movie.

Hopefully, the great John Leguizamo will also be nominated — as Best Supporting Actor for his powerful role as Emir Abreu. I also want to call your attention to Diane Kruger, as Musella’s phony fiance.

Chris Hajian is the composer of the original musical score. Credit goes to Joshua Reis for Cinematography and Jeff McEvoy for Editing.

As the film concludes, there were some 85 different arrests in this sting. In the end, I could not help but shake my head in coming to terms with the present “War on Drugs”. I don’t think it can ever be stopped. We are talking about billions if not trillions of dollars.

Rated R for strong violence, language throughout, some sexual content and drug material. 127 minutes.

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