The Infiltrators  Review: An Exciting Endeavor of Unquestionable Accuracy
When Abbas Kiarostami read about Hossain Sabzian in an article in the Iranian magazine Sorush by journalist Hassan Farazmand, his first response was to suspend his current endeavors and capture Hassan’s story and his motivations on camera. What came out from his commitment, and devotion is a piece of heritage that continues to and will forever baffle the generations to come. Kiarostami’s biggest achievement was extracting an authentic-looking account from the real people involved, pushing them into recreating everything in their mercurial environment with such deftness that the fourth wall vaporizes and one fails to differentiate reality from fiction unless told. While I can’t imply if inspirations are obvious in Cristina Ibarra and Alex Rivera’s The Infiltrators, I see a cinematic parallel that makes this film a little greater than what it could have been conventionally.
Astonishing is the reality of this account and its tussle with law and order. Astonishing is its unabashedness, its unrelenting approach to expose itself. The film is about pushing the about-to-be deported immigrants through the leakages in the system, defeating it in its own game. Its protagonists are undocumented immigrants themselves, who infiltrate a for-profit detention center to rescue those who might be illegal in the eyes of the law but are required in the world outside with great urgency. People with families, homes, and history.
Interestingly, once we are introduced to the subject matter and protagonists of the film, the film doesn’t completely submit to the recreation of the events with actors. It amalgamates the real-life people recreating/living the course of events with actors recreating the events that couldn’t be recorded in a way a toffemaker adds colors and flavors to molten caramel and stretches it. Ultimately, people and actors get dissolved in the way flavors get dissolved in the caramel and you get adjusted to the fact that your characters have two faces each, and everything you are watching is a linear narration of one particular event. This aspect is charming and works in favor of the film by rewarding it with distinctiveness.
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The Infiltrators isn’t a prison-break film. It is not a film on social rebellion either. Going against the system, using its cooperation for a better cause, winning lives for people, and being unafraid with a voice are few of its most important elements. Entwining all aspects to make a mellow thriller, with drama sprinkled here and there, makers succeed in brisk editing that ensures entertainment for the audience while valuing the innate struggles of the film’s occupants and its emotional core. Cinematography mimics what the situation demands. It allows the film to take the shape of a documentary when it’s needed, and become a film that has a comparatively greater amount of stable shots in its fictional portions. The performances are in the shadow of the real people, the characters, which aren’t absolutely coinciding but aren’t abrasive either. Eventually, what comes out is a little uneven, but exciting piece of cinema.