Bryan Cranston Summons His Bad Boy to Play “The Infiltrator”
By Skip Sheffield
Bryan Cranston makes a most convincing badass.
Cranston, who is best-known as the meth-cooking teacher in “Breaking Bad,” plays an even ballsier character in the truth-based movie “The Infiltrator.”
Cranston plays U.S, Customs undercover agent and former accountant Robert Mazur. Mazur’s mission, set in 1986, is to follow the money to Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, who was raking in millions of dollars in profits for smuggling thousands of pounds of cocaine into the USA, mostly through South Florida as the Mendellin Cartel.
To perform his ruse Masur adopted the name Bob Musella, whose lifestyle was directly the opposite of the clean-living family man, Robert Mazur.
Going undercover is perilous duty. Doing it in Miami, Panama and Colombia makes it all the more dangerous.
The script, adapted by Ellen Brown Furman from Mazur’s memoir, is complicated and a bit long. It is long on procedure and short on action. The real villains in this story are the corrupt banks that laundered cash money and diverted it to legitimate businesses to make it seem legitimate.
All the while Robert Mazur was deep undercover, his worried wife Evelyn (Juliet Aubrey) was unaware of the full extent of her husband’s double life. When Masur/Musella agrees to take on a fellow agent, Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) as a pretend fiancée, things get even more complicated, especially when Bob, with Kathy on his arm, and Evelyn show up at the same Miami restaurant.
Going undercover is a dirty business. So is dealing large quantities of cocaine. I was around when all this stuff went down. I even had a couple good friends who did hard time dealing cocaine. The betrayal of friends is poignantly depicted in Bob’s friendship with the elegant Roberto Acaino (Benjamin Bratt), a close lieutenant to drug lord Pablo Escobar, and his associate Eminir Abreu (John Leguizamo), who seemed to like the thug life a little too much.
Bryan Cranston is an actor of great gravitas. He uses it to great affect as a middle-aged man agreeing to one last caper with express permission of the U.S. Government.