The Infiltrator is the perfect throwback thriller, an old school undercover spy thriller at its pulpy best. In addition to an amazing lead performance from the always reliable Bryan Cranston, the film relishes in its dark humor, gritty storytelling, and dynamic characterization. While it suffers from a few under cooked subplots, its a great thrill ride that feels like a ’80s cop film.
Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) is a U.S. Customs Official close to retirement, called back in to duty to take part in the biggest drug bust in U.S. History. Undercover, Mazur must contend with the dirty, yet loyal nature of criminals, facing personal and professional consequences. Cranston is fantastic here; he’s a grizzled, no-nonsense character straight out of a classic undercover thriller, and Cranston highlights the struggles of being undercover for too long. However, the film’s standout performance belongs to John Leguizamo, who despite disappearing from the film in the middle, adds the perfect comic edge to the grittiness of the story.
There might not be any prolonged or iconic sequences in the film that stand to rival Scarface or Heat, but the film moves swiftly from scene to scene, rarely leaving room for any boredom. While some of the familial subplots feel tedious, the film packs a powerhouse climax that combines the fiscal and emotional arcs of the film. The Infiltrator is a surprisingly fun film, a film committed to its own style, making for a welcome surprise this summer. Grade: B