Strong themes, violence, coarse language.
Director: Brad Furman
Featuring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger
Language: English, Spanish
Running time: 127 minutes
Original review: Fr. Dennis Kriz, at the movies blog.
Extracted by: Janez Zagoda
The film is about former U.S. Customs Agent Robert Mazur who during the height of the Reagan Administration's War on Drugs, came up with the idea of focusing on the laundering of the money, made in the Drug Trade, rather than on simply focusing on intercepting the shipment of the drugs themselves.
So he invented the alias Bob Musella and gave him a somewhat mobbed-up, certainly somehow "connected" crooked businessman from New Jersey persona, and with his partner Emir Abreau given a younger more freewheeling Latino persona, sets out to infiltrate and go up the ladder of the most powerful, Medellin, drug cartel of the time. The backstory that they built around (the already some years dead and buried) random man named Musella was brilliant because as an actual U.S. government agent, Mazur was able "to do magic" that is be able to "open doors" for increasingly higher placed Drug Lords that simply would not have been possible for a mere, "crooked New Jersey businessman with an Italian name", unless of course, he was somehow "mobbed-up".
But honestly try sleeping at night if you're trying to enter into the circle of, gain the trust of, and ultimately entrap Colombian Drug Lords like the men around Pablo Escobar for whom this operation was ultimately gunning. "Given" a beautiful if random stripper for the night as "a reward" by some impressed, moderately placed Kingpin, Musella opts to try remaining faithful to his wife. Well, from that point on, the U.S. Customs Service has to give him a suitable "government issue fiancée", Kathy Ertz, for the remainder of the operation.
At that time, "all money laundering roads" led through Manuel Noriega’s Panama, and through a notorious bank of the time named BCCI. So viewers are teased with all sorts of other threads of intrigue. Was the eventual 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama, set in to motion to protect the continued secrecy of any number of levels of U.S secret government operations that had
Panama as a hub, to operations in support of the U.S. supported Nicaraguan Contras?