Bryan Cranston’s latest film, “The Infiltrator,” is based on the true story of middle-aged FBI agent Bob Mazur who went undercover to take down Pablo Escobar’s drug trafficking regime in 1986. Directed by Brad Furman, here’s a roundup of what the critics are saying about the drug lord drama.
IndieWire’s Eric Kohn gave the film a B-, writing in his review that Cranston is a great actor but can do better than this. “Cranston’s good-natured character can do no wrong, and ‘The Infiltrator’ takes cues from his progression by creating the sense that his scheme is so perfectly realized it can just glide along to a perfect finish,” he says. “Knowing how compelling he can be when tasked with playing an anti-hero, there’s something inherently underwhelming about watching him play just another good guy.”
Owen Gleiberman of Variety calls the film “a tensely exciting true-life drama.” Overall, he’s a fan of Cranston and the cast’s performances: “‘The Infiltrator’ creates enthralling suspense out of the drama of what undercover agents do, and there isn’t a moment in it that makes the danger looks falsely seductive. The power of Cranston’s performance is that he captures the deep anguish that deep cover can bring. [Diane] Kruger matches him, beat for psychological beat, and John Leguizamo gives a pinpoint performance as Bob’s low-life informer colleague.”
“Cranston’s ace performance holds this mixed bag together,” writes The Hollywood Reporter’s Sheri Linden. Applauding the “Breaking Bad” actor’s role, Linden states, “Cranston turns every moment of duplicity, which is to say nearly every scene of ‘The Infiltrator,’ into an emotionally textured high-wire act.”
Entertainment Weekly’s Devan Coggan also agrees with previous critics about Cranston’s great acting and gave the film a B+. “Things tend to drag whenever Cranston’s off screen,” she explains. “‘The Infiltrator’ may not be as innovative as ‘Breaking Bad,’ but it sure is fun to watch Cranston at his best again, masterfully walking the tightrope between good and bad.”
On the less than favorable side of reviews is Peter Sobczynski of Roger Ebert who gave the film two and half stars. While it, “does have its worthwhile aspects, such as the strong performance from Cranston and a well-played turn from the perennially underrated Diane Kruger as the phony fiancée,” he writes that the film as a whole never overcomes the inherent familiarity of its premise to make it unique. “Those looking for a story equal to Cranston’s contributions to it are liable to come away from it feeling slightly disappointed.”
Another two and a half stars out of four was given by Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers who compared Cranston’s previous role on the AMC series to his latest. “In a split second, Cranston changes his character from regular Joe to raging psycho — and you believe it utterly. He’s extraordinary,” he writes. But his problem with the flick: “‘The Infiltrator’ just settles for being same old/same old.”
“The Infiltrator” is now in theaters.