July 13, 2016, - 5:44 pm

“The Infiltrator”: Suspenseful, Well-Acted Flick Shows Sacrifices of Undercover US Customs Agents

By Debbie Schlussel


The Infiltrator (Rated R),” in theaters today, is a stark reminder of the sacrifices made and risks taken by U.S. Customs agents. And it’s a solid reminder of why the post-9/11 elimination of the U.S. Customs Service and its agents (most of whom became ICE agents) was a huge mistake, along with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. The movie is a must-see. And it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen so far this year, and still would be in a year with better movies.

I liked this movie because the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. There is no moral equivalence here. Robert Mazur, the real-life U.S. Customs agent who risked his life and those of his family members to serve our country, is a decent honorable man. He refuses to cheat on his wife, even when duty “requires” it while working undercover.

Bryan Cranston is Mazur and undercover operative who brings down drug dealers and kingpins. He has the opportunity to retire after an on-the-job injury and many years of hard work. But, instead, Mazur agrees to pose as an accountant who money-launders cash. The movie follows Customs’ “Operation C-Chase,” in which Mazur and his fellow agents helped the U.S. government bring down major players in Pablo Escobar’s and Manuel Noriega’s drug rings, as well as the BCCI–the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, owned and run by Muslims. (Not shown in the movie is that the bank also laundered money for Islamic terrorists and corrupt Muslim regimes–a redundant phrases.) The operation was so successful that it took down 85 high-level drug cartel operatives and corrupt bankers (though I was amazed at the short sentences the men got, as described in a postscript at the end of the movie).

John Leguizamo plays Mazur’s partner in the operation, Emir Abreu. I’ve never been a fan of Leguizamo, but this role is custom-made for him. The beautiful Diane Kruger looks more stunning than ever here as Kathy Ertz, the agent who pretended to be Mazur’s fiancee in the undercover operation.

This movie is extremely violent (it is NOT for kids), but that’s necessary to show the ruthlessness of the men with whom Mazur was dealing and the risks he took to do his job and carry out this operation. These were dangerous, vicious savages who wouldn’t have hesitated to torture Mazur, his wife, and his young children to death. There are several suspenseful scenes showing us how easy it would have been for Mazur to have been discovered and murdered. And the movie does them well.

But the movie isn’t entirely serious. There are moments that are funny and light. And the movie is very entertaining from beginning to end. There’s never a dull moment, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. You will be, too. Yes, we’ve seen some of this story before, but I haven’t seen it told this well on the silver screen in a long time.

The acting in this is excellent, as is the attention to detail, including 1980s decor, clothing, cars, and pop culture, including the soundtrack. The script is written by 67-year-old first-timer Ellen Brown Furman, the retired trial lawyer mother of the movie’s director, Brad Furman. She captures well the angst and sorrow some federal agents feel at the end of their operations, as they’ve come to subconsciously “like” those whom they are ensnaring.

Also, I’d also be lying if I denied taking pride in the fact that at least one of the “good guys” in this movie is a real-life Jewish American–Bonni Tischler–who betrays the lie that Jews aren’t tough guys serving America in federal law enforcement.

This movie is mostly true, and you can learn more about it at History vs. Hollywood. But don’t do so until after you’ve seen it because the site contains a lot of spoilers.

There are a few minor things I didn’t like about the movie. First, there’s the portrayal of an American businessman who was vital to the operation as a Black man. But, in fact, this man, who undertook great risks to his family to help the Customs agents (without earning a penny for it), was White in real life. More about him in another post later today. I hate fictional “diversity.” It’s simply fraud and never goes the other way (Owen Wilson will never be cast as Martin Luther King, Jr., I promise you).

I also didn’t care for the one-sided portrayal of Tischler, who was the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service at the time. The movie is based on Mazur’s memoir, The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s MedellĂ­n Cartel, and he and Tischler did not get along. She is portrayed as nearly ruining the entire operation and then taking credit for its success.

Tischler was the first female federal law enforcement agent to rise to head an agency, and her story is almost as interesting as the story told in this movie. As readers know, I’m no feminist and I loathe affirmative action based on female plumbing. But Tischler was not that kind of woman. She was tough and earned the job, having risen from the first female federal air marshal (then called a “sky marshal”) to leading some of the biggest, most successful law enforcement operations. She is played by Amy Ryan here, and is depicted at the time when she headed the U.S. Customs Service office in Tampa, Florida. I know many former Customs agents who worked with Bonni Tischler, and they liked her. Said one, “I know her well. She was a pit bull, so I’d be surprised that she would have messed up the operation [as portrayed in the movie].” Tischler died of breast cancer at age 60 in 2005, so she cannot defend herself.

Get Yours . . .

And finally, I could have done without the leftist-tinged, anti-American postscript at the end of the movie alleging that the U.S. used BCCI accounts to fund the Nicaraguan freedom fighters, a noble cause.

Other than that, it’s a great movie. And Robert Mazur– is a great American who, to date, cannot show his face because of the threats he continues to face for the excellent work he did. These drug cartels have long memories.


Watch the trailer . . .

8 Responses

“The Infiltrator” sounds like my kind of movie. But it doesn’t sound like it tells enough of the BCCI story, because in addition to money-laundering by such figures as Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, the Medelin Cartel, and Abu Nigal, the CIA and the National Security Council also held accounts at BCCI, supposedly for a variety of covert operations.

Bryan Cranson’s an outstanding actor and he did a great acting job in his last major movie “Trumbo,” in spite of the script’s inherent political propaganda.

John Leguizamo’s also an outstanding actor, and I had the pleasure of seeing him perform in his one-man show, “Latin History for Morons.” I hadn’t seen him do comedy before, and was surprised to find that he was very talented at it. I also met him after the show and chatted with him.

Ralph Adamo on July 13, 2016 at 8:18 pm

hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole are enemies of the Republic and free people everywhere. don’t go to movies and never will. not a smart thing to give money to my enemies.

Deserttrek on July 15, 2016 at 7:52 am

Hey Deserttrek, I assume you also don’t read or listen to music.

Vic on July 15, 2016 at 10:40 am

    And you actually think there’s been any music worth a damn, or more than a handful of decent movies or TV shows, or any books produced by authors who can actually write, in roughly the last 25 years? Support the media and you support the Left, PERIOD.

    Robert Morgan on July 19, 2016 at 7:44 pm

I long to see good movies like this, but it is so hard to actually put $$ into the hands of Bryan Cranston et.al., who constantly flaps his leftie jaw – he is free to do that, but am pretty sure he wouldn’t want my dirty money…right???

Sioux on July 15, 2016 at 8:27 pm

Robert Mazur isn’t Jewish. He’s of Italian and some kind of non-Jewish Eastern European descent (see his book bio).

Bee on July 16, 2016 at 6:36 pm

I think the end came surrounding BCCI is well described in “a full service bank”. Indeed Bonni Tischler and Mazur had their issues, but the story in the infiltrator matches. It was time to end it. I’m not surprised at the one swipe at Bonni taken at the end of the movie! Though it wasn’t necessary or accurate. But it was Mazur’s story as told by him, so what do you expect. No one ever reached out to family or friends in making this movie. I’m her brother.

Andy Kessel on July 21, 2016 at 7:24 am

Mr. Mazur did a great service bringing to light the nuances of being a UC. Although a personally rewarding position, it has numerous pitfalls, such as the lack of promotions for UCA’s.

Mr. Mazur and all who have “Walked the Walked” are usually prostituted to an extreme workload, just because they have a talent and do their job well or have a special ability/talent/second language etc.

The best part of Mr. Manzur’s move was the insight to Bob’s family life and the sacrifices that both he and his family and the Agents and their families have endured for the good of the Agency.

Yet when a personal crisis arose in an Agent’s life, or his/her family’s life, the Agency ignores it 98% of the time, (unless you’re one of the the 2% Golden Boy/Ass Kissers).

Btw, I loved the little innuendoes that were purposely interjected into the script as a “jab” at the Agency and Management…….I never got a fiancee…lol

Money Catcker on August 1, 2016 at 2:50 am

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