Former mob enforcer-turned-bodyguard Dominic, played in the film by actor Joseph Gilgun, schooled Robert Mazur in the importance of looking like a big-time operator for the operation. "Dominic warned me that if I sit across from some drug trafficker with my legs crossed, they're going look at the soles of my shoes. I'm not believable as a multimillionaire money launderer if I'm wearing cheap JC Penney shoes with holes in the soles. But if my shoes are Italian made and cost a couple of hundred bucks, that sends a completely different message." See more »
Barry Seal was assassinated by Cartel assassins in Baton Rouge in 1986. At the time he was a DEA informant and was never part of Operation C-Chase which was a US Customs operation run out of Tampa. See more »
Roberto, I am glad you are here. But there is a part of me that wishes you hadn't taken that risk.
Without family or friends what kinda world it is be. There will be no reason to be alive. Hmm? It's a good day.
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Brothers on the Slide
Written by Basil Swabe & Julian Chapman
Performed by Cymande
Courtesy of John Schroeder Enterprises Limited
By arrangement with Music Media Agents
Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing Allegro (UK) See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. The war on drugs has become a bit of a punchline in the real world, but has proved to be fertile ground for filmmaking: Sicario (2015), American Hustle (2013), Traffic (2000). Additionally, the popular Netflix show "Narcos" takes on the same Medellin drug cartel as this latest from director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer, 2011). The movie is based on the true events of Robert Mazur's book "The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel" (a title that's very descriptive, if a bit long).
Bryan Cranston continues his impressive Hollywood run this time as Robert Mazur, the man who goes undercover to expose the money-laundering system of the cartel. His flamboyant alter-ego is known as Bob Musella, a character that allows Mazur (and Cranston) to show a side not typically seen. His antics get him inside Columbian Drug Lord Escobar's organization in the mid-1980's.
When Mazur realizes the traditional method of chasing the drugs isn't working, he decides the age-old idiom "follow the money" might be a better approach. This takes him inside the world of international money laundering, and he learns that banks and governments are quite dependent on this huge business of drug money movement.
There are specific groups of people here: the government agencies, the small task force, the corrupt (and appreciative) bankers, the various levels within the cartel, and even Mazur's family all these forces intertwine to make life difficult for Mazur and his team, and provide a glimpse into the complexities of undercover work.
In addition to stellar work from Cranston, the cast is terrific. John Leguizamo plays Mazur's motivated partner Abreu; Diane Kruger plays his undercover fiancé; Juliet Aubrey is Mazur's real life wife who doesn't much appreciate his declining the early retirement offer; Olympia Dukakis provides a dash of comedy relief as Mazur's Aunt; Yul Vasquez is the creepy money manager for Escobar; Benjamin Bratt plays Roberto, Escobar's right-hand man and the key to Mazur's case; and Elena Anaya (The Skin I Live In, 2011) is Roberto's wife. Also present are Amy Ryan, Jason Isaacs and the always great Michael Pare.
There are a couple of standout scenes one involving chicken and voodoo, and another with a briefcase mishap, but my favorite is the Happy Anniversary cake scene in the restaurant where Mazur flashes his alter-ego Musella for his real wife to see and she is understandably stunned.
The movie does a nice job of capturing the look and feel of the era (30 years ago), but it's somehow missing the elevated suspense it portends to drag us and the characters through. Some elements seemed impossible to believe why would Mazur risk his family's safety? The timeline was a bit muddled. We aren't sure how much time has passed, but there certainly don't seem to be enough interactions before Roberto is telling Mazur he is "like family". It plays a bit like those romance movies where the two leads are head over heels in love after a conversation or two. An element is missing and it affects the level of tension throughout the film. And that's something even a Leonard Cohen song ("Everybody Knows") can't fix.
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