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Sunday, July 24, 2016

"The Infiltrator" 2016: Gripping, Great Performances and Production Values

"The Infiltrator" is a gripping, intelligent, fast-paced cops-and-robbers movie with a dream cast and high production values. I was on the edge of my seat for almost the entire film. The top-notch performances by all involved, but especially Bryan Cranston, really sucked me in. That "The Infiltrator" tells a true story of a brave, resourceful, and heroic public servant, Robert Mazur, makes it inspirational as well as entertaining.

It's the early 1980s and Colombians and others are exporting millions of dollars' worth of cocaine into the US. US Customs special agent Robert Mazur takes on the persona of Bob Musella, a Mafia-connected money-launderer. He offers his services to the Pablo Escobar cocaine drug lord. The Escobar gang takes him in and he and other Operation C-Chase agents take down the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the seventh largest bank in the world.

Mazur is masked and driven through Colombian jungle where he is forced to participate in a grotesque voodoo ritual. He and his fake fiancée, Kathy Ertz, (Diane Kruger) are invited into the private homes of extremely wealthy and discriminating criminals, and he and Kathy form genuine personal relationships with them. Mazur's partner, Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo), gets a man killed and has a brief breakdown afterward.

Indeed this is a very violent movie. At one point Mazur is conversing with a fellow undercover agent and without any warning the agent is shot to death with blood spattering everywhere.

"The Infiltrator" doesn't offer any innovations on cops-and-robbers. Many other films have treated South American drug kingpins, Mafiosi, and undercover agents.

Too, the movie never asks the question that must be ramming through the viewer's brain. "Why the heck are we doing this? Why are we spending so much money trying to prevent drug addicts from doing what they are going to do, anyway? Why are we allowing criminal gangs, who are as violent and sadistic and without conscience as any terrorist group, to have so much sway? Why don't we legalize and regulate and tax drugs and let Darwinian laws take their course with the addict population? Why don't we let Uncle Sam reap the profit of human weakness, rather than criminals?"

"The Infiltrator," unlike the 2000 film "Traffic," never asks that question.

PS: I am a proud Polish-American and so is Robert Mazur, whose father's family is Polish, and whose mother's family is Italian.

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