I could not avoid borrowing the qualifications used by a Web site from Toronto when writing about this film. It’s ‘boring and watchable’. An unusual combination indeed. And yet, this is exactly how I feel about ‘The Infiltrator’ directed by – a talented director who succeeded much better IMO with The Lincoln Lawyer.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1355631/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1355631/

 

I must also confess from the start that I am not a fan of the ‘true crime’ genre. Reality has the disadvantage of being in many cases confusing, and bringing it to screen demands a level of processing that elevates it above what we – as spectators – live in our daily lives. After all we do not pay the price of the ticket to live inside the cinema theaters the same lives as we do in the fresh air outside. Script writers and directors approaching the genre face the dilemma of either sticking to the truth of the story (and risk to be drown in the details) or of ‘dramatizing’ the reality to make it better fit to screen (and risk losing credibility). Succeeding is not only an exercise in balance but also requires the art of finding the artistic truth that makes the film valuable and attractive for viewers beyond the documentary news.

The element that makes ‘The Infiltrator’ different is the building of the relationship between anti-drug cop Robert Mazur () and the drug dealers and the bankers that financed the business in the crime organization that he infiltrated in the 80s playing the role of a money launderer. There is tension in the building of the undercover team and the way they gain the trust of the lethally criminals they deal with, but the difference is really the fact that Mazur not only starts living as the character he poses as, but also seems to develop feelings of real sympathy (if not friendship) towards his enemies-in-law.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

The result is to some extent convincing, but it takes a long way to get to it, almost the totality of the two hours film. The rest of the time is spent into telling a cops vs. drug dealers story that is not too original and not too different from so many other stories we have already seen on screen. The inflation of real life characters brought too screen because they were around in the real story, but not really living a screen life of their own makes much of the introduction part, and much of what happens next confusing.  is OK in his role, but an actor with more charisma could have made the character more interesting. The best acting in the film came from , an actor I have seen in many supporting roles, and I am glad to see that he gets near more consistent roles towards a lead role in the future that he certainly deserves.

The Infiltrator is not the big crime film ‘inspired by a true story’ that I am waiting for.