(director: Brad Furman ; screenwriters: Ellen Brown Furman, based on the book by Robert Mazur; cinematographer: Joshua Reis; editors: David Rosenbloom, Luis Carballar, Jeff McEvoy; music: Chris Hajian; cast: Bryan Cranston (Robert Mazur), Benjamin Bratt (Roberto Alcaino ), Jason Isaacs (Mark Jackowski ), Amy Ryan (Bonni Tischler), John Leguizamo (Emir Abreu), Diane Kruger (Kathy Ertz), Juliet Aubrey (Evelyn Mazur), Joseph Gilgun, (Dominic), Yul Vazquez (Javier Ospina), Elena Anaya (Gloria Alcaino), Olympia Dukakis (Aunt Vicky), Rubén Ochandiano (Gonzalo Mora Jr.); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Paul M. Brennan, Brad Furman, Miriam Segal, Don Sikorski; Broad Green Pictures; 2016-UK)
“This film moves along energetically only because Cranston does. When the director and the lousy screenplay interfere things look very ordinary.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Brad Furman (“The Take”/”The Lincoln Lawyer“) helms this true story thriller of a powerful drug lord. It’s based on the book by Robert Mazur. An excellent Bryan Cranston plays the Florida-based federal agent Mazur. In the 1980s Mazur went undercover posing as a money-launderer, using the alias Bob Musella. His actions helped take down Pablo Escobar’s powerful Colombian drug cartel and the banks that funded it. The screenplay was written by the director’s mother Ellen Brown Furman. By 1986 the agent realized it wasn’t enough to get the drugs, which could be quickly replaced, but it would be more strategic to get at the money. Mazur created a sting operation for his money laundering operation, as drug lords, high-rollers and respectable international bankers hid their illegal gains in legit investments. Masur lives in Tampa with his wife (Juliet Aubrey) and two kids, as a happy family man. Leading a double-life was a challenge. But Masur was helped greatly by the wild boy undercover agent Emir (John Leguizamo). Things get sticky when the inexperienced knockout agent Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) poses as Mazur’s fiancé. This leads to ticklish moments when in contact with Escobar’s brute money manager Ospina (Yul Vázquez).Also the posers struggle with sexual feelings for each other and when becoming too close to Escobar’s classy lieutenant, Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt), and his wife, Elena (Gloria Alcaino). In the end, the script shows no balls and takes the easy way out by letting the usual drug thriller cliches rule the day. In essence, this film moves along energetically only because Cranston does. When the director and the lousy screenplay interfere things look very ordinary.
REVIEWED ON 7/14/2016 GRADE: B-