The director thought of the idea for this film during his process making the Lincoln Lawyer, which also starred Cranston and Leguizamo. He found the screenplays source, a book titled The Infiltrator (with a he’ll of a subtitle) intriguing. This was due to the prospect of an customs agent going under cover to take down the people and banks involved in Pablo Escobar’s circle and eventually befriending many of them. For any one who has seen the early 90’s “Donnie Brasco”, it is an all too familiar sequence of events and plot.
Bryan Cranston excels as a character playing a double life. Not that surprising after his years of portraying Walter White, only this time on the opposite side of the law. Cranston is masterful at his art and you believe in both his character and the persona he is putting on. Similar to “All the Way”, while the story has its hang ups, you are given an amazing performance by someone doing his best with the material presented. That being said, John Leguizamo and Diane Kruger also have solid takes on his undercover partners taking out the money side of Escobar’s operation.
As I mentioned, movies have treaded this turf before and it’s in your mind regardless of all the stellar acting. The suspense is wonderful and well written but you always have a feeling the main character is going to make it to his goal. They sell the 80’s very well without the usual hang-up movies have of feeling too Miami Vice. It was also notable for having a lot of ground to cover story wise, which it doesn’t do perfectly, but it gets the job done while feeling authentic. It’s American Hustle, it’s Scarface, it’s familiar, but that doesn’t stop me from giving it a 4 out of 5.