The Infiltrator (2016)

(Video on Demand, October 2016) Even though The Infiltrator is based on the true story of a DEA agent who bent the rules in order to infiltrate Cartel operations, there is something extremely familiar with the way the film goes about its business. In a way, it may be inevitable: the mob informer genre is well-worn by now, and an agent-in-disguise plot is not that fundamentally different from the good-guy-over-his-head narrative. Still, the Infiltrator gives it a go, and the results aren’t bad at all. Bryan Cranston stars as the titular infiltrator, playing mob accountant by day and returning how to his wife by night. The tensions there are well-exploited, as is the contrast between the high-rolling lifestyle of the crooked and corrupt compared to the humdrum reality of a federal employee. The story does take overblown turns at times, such as the climax set at a fake wedding. Still, The Infiltrator keeps its focus on the impact of undercover work on its protagonist, the difficulty in separating real friendship from fake façade, and sprinkles it with a sheer on early-nineties Miami chic. While the result doesn’t fare particularly well in the crime-movie pantheon, The Infiltrator is more than good enough to be entertaining.

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