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The Infiltrator (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 127 minutes

Not for children.

This is an extraordinarily high tension tale of a Custom agentís infiltration into the MedellŪn Cartel's criminal hierarchy headquartered in Miami in the Ď80s. Itís based on the book written by the protagonist, Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston who gives a haunting performance), about what he did, the people he knew and how it affected his wife, Evelyn (Juliet Aubrey, in a fine, understated performance) and children, Scott (Niall Hayes) and Andrea (Lara Decaro).

While undercover as a U.S. Customs special agent, Mazur, known to the criminals as Bob Musella, a premier money-launderer, even had to pretend he had a girlfriend, Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) to whom he is engaged. This, although he was happily married and the father of two children.

He also has a compatriot, Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo, another who gives a terrific performance) who goes undercover with him. They meet some pretty sleazy guys, among them the cool and suave Robert Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt, not the first time heís played a classy, likeable bad guy), Pablo Escobarís top lieutenant, and his gorgeous wife, Gloria (Elena Anaya).

But it was not just bad guys that Mazur was after. He also targeted a huge international bank, Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). The scenes of the bank officials rolling over to help Mazur launder the cartelís money are terrific. One of the more memorable scenes in the movie occurs when Mazur is surprised by some of his bad guy friends as he is taking wife Evelyn out to celebrate their anniversary.

Another occurs when he finally gets to meet one of the big guys and is taken into a crime den with some kind of voodoo priest who puts him and another guy through a weird procedure to determine if they are legit.

Directed with good pace by Brad Furman from a script by his mother, Ellen Brown Furman, the music (Chris Hajian) adds appropriate tension as the underlying worry is that all these bad guys are going to do some terrible things to Robert and his family.

Even better is that the bittersweet conclusion is far from being a typical Hollywood Ending.