There are many reasons to like The Infiltrator. It takes place in the ’80s, it’s suspenseful, and it gives us a really gritty inside look at what life is like for a good guy who goes undercover to work with the Colombian drug cartel.
Which is what Bryan Cranston’s character does. He’s a guy on the verge of retirement and could easily leave to spend time with his wife and kids, but takes this one last job. And it proves to be the toughest one yet as he poses as a money launderer to try and take down Pablo Escobar’s entire drug trafficking network.
It takes place in the Reagan-’80s and so there’s this whole overt camera filter over the whole film. It’s not too distracting, but it’s also not terribly necessary. But it’s minor.
The whole thing plays out as one giant sting operation. And the filmmakers understand that in a 2 hour movie, you don’t need to run through all the details in one quick dialogue-filled scene. However, it would’ve been nice if they had given us a little more along the way.
It starts unraveling a little over an hour in. There’s about a 30 minute stretch where you’re looking at the person sitting next to you saying, “What’s happening?” There’s a lot left unexplained, but I guess there was more concern about the movie not becoming any longer.
The film is long at 127 minutes, but it’s never really an issue. We need the time to process what’s happening and for Cranston’s character to evolve over the course of the film.
It tightens back up in the home stretch, culminating in an emotionally impressive final scene.
The always-underappreciated John Leguizamo plays Cranston’s partner and does a very good and believable job.
There seems to be this slightly neglected theme intermittently placed throughout the film about the American economy collapsing without laundered money. It’s an interesting idea and one that should have been touched upon way more.