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.