Bryan Cranston is a tremendous actor that has offered up some of the best and most genre defining performances the modern age has ever encountered. He should’ve won the Academy Award for Best Actor with his work in Trumbo and he’s great in movies that are arguably better than they have any right to be. But there’s only so far my defence of this great actor can go, and The Infiltrator probably isn’t the hill to die on in this fight to secure Cranston’s reputation.
His performance isn’t the issue, it’s just everything around it crumbles so easily. The story of Robert Mazur is certainly somewhat interesting, but there are so many movies, television programmes and other pieces of media surrounding the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar that makes it all feel commerically redundant. In the case of The Infiltrator, their unique selling point is that it follows Mazur as he goes undercover, the inside man gathering evidence against Escobar that would lead to the downfall of part of his drug empire.
It’s your standard, cookie cutter biopic stuff. A few decent songs thrown into the mix with the likes of Leonard Cohen featuring on the soundtrack, and there’s of course friction between the main character and the supporting character for reasons undisclosed. Cranston and John Leguizamo don’t have the best chemistry, so I’m only thankful that they share few scenes together, and these scenes are somewhat brief and over within a few minutes.
Still, it’s interesting that they have two different arcs to the story, and I’m still not entirely sure how the two connect. Although told in that straightforward manner we’ve become accustomed to, The Infiltrator has a hard time making its story anything close to interesting. From a technical aspect the film is solid enough, no real differences from the contemporaries of the biopic genre. Cranston manages to hold the film together as best he can for a bloated running time of two hours.
But it could’ve been a lot worse, and The Infiltrator has pockets of interest throughout that make it credibly worth a watch. I’m sure there are better iterations of this story out there, but I’ll take the one that features Heisenberg any day of the week.
A stock biopic that won’t leave you amazed or annoyed, very much a film that is forgettable and there if you really want to watch it. I did want to watch it, and I’m not entirely sure why, but I was at least satisfied with the time I spent with The Infiltrator. It has its moments like any other movie, and thankfully there are enough of those special moments that make it somewhat worth a watch.