This fact-based crime thriller finds Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston again up to his neck in the drug trade. This time, however, he’s on the right side of the law as a straight-arrow US customs agent who poses as a sleazy, money-laundering businessman to infiltrate Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s criminal network in the mid-1980s.
With Diane Kruger’s beautiful rookie agent by his side, acting as his trophy fiancée (she’s fake; the furs are real), he keeps up the risky pretence – but one slip and they could easily end up dead. There’s a chilling scene involving a voodoo lie-detector test and the hair-trigger volatility of John Leguizamo’s livewire customs sidekick provides tense moments, too.
Yet overall the set-up doesn’t supply as much clammy suspense as you might hope. Stodgy plotting and uneven pacing is partly to blame, but the film’s biggest disappointment is that it doesn’t probe deeply enough into the mission’s psychological costs to allow Cranston to be at his very best.