Set in the year 1985 the drug cartel was known to be smuggling cocaine through Tampa, Florida and Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) was the one guy who worked for the government that intended to bring the bad guys to their knees. Moments away from retirement Bobby tells his wife Evelyn (Juliet Aubrey) that this final job with fellow official Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) would be his last. Evelyn afraid for his life, their marriage and their two kids is not so happy to hear he wants to do one more job and this one could possibly retire him six feet underground.
Bobby and Emir visit a cemetery in search of names since they of course can’t use their own. So what better for a new name then that of a dead person! They have fake passports, driving licenses and alibi stories to back them up as these new identities. One slip in their story and their cover is blown, the deal goes south and they get buried. Bobby’s biggest concern is to make sure Emir has his back and in return Bobby has his. Just to be on the safe side Bobby enlists a friend from prison who knows the drug game to help him out. Dominic (Joseph Gilgun) accepts the get out of jail card in return for helping Bobby in bringing the Escobar deals to an end. Bobby knows he has to start at the bottom to make it to the top and hopefully straight to Escobar, the main man. First stop, creating a relationship with Gonzalo Mora Sr. (Simon Andreu) and Gonzola Mora Jr. (Ruben Ochandiano) of which he hopes will lead him further into the world of drugs and money laundering. Well so far so good!
Sex, drugs, money, a tape recorder in his briefcase, lies and some great acting later Bobby is graced with the second step, a meeting with Javier Ospina (Yul Vazquez) who happens to be checking out more than Bobby’s credibility. Of course when lying sometimes one needs to improvise and Bobby creates a fiancé Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) none too happy of his agency let alone his real wife Evelyn. Bobby knows that if he screws up this deal or is found out that these people will not only kill him but his wife and children as well but to that thought he gets deeper in this game of chess. He even goes as far as to involve his Aunt Vicky (Olympia Dukakis) into his act who by the way hits her role out of the park for a home run in getting Bobby closer to the next level with Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt), his wife Gloria (Elena Anaya) and their daughter. Bobby and Roberto and their wives began to build a trust among them which even opened more doors to more money, crooked bankers, drugs and to the point of no return. Bobby has no choice but to continue this case and with people dying around him for once in his career he is fearful of his future. After several players get killed Bobby has 150 million reasons to continue this case all leading up to one beautiful, white wedding day at the Innis Brook Resort and the end to Operation C-Chase.
I have to admit I may be slightly bias since the movie was filmed here in Tampa my home town but all that aside it is extremely well directed and written keeping your attention from the start. You must pay attention though since there are a number of players and one trip to the bathroom or for popcorn could get you a little lost. A few animal downers in the story, the dog races is a focal point during one scene but thankfully the one actor makes a remark down-playing the race, chickens getting their heads ripped off during a test to challenge Bobby and one good moment involving German Shepherd police dogs used to get the bad guys. A great score with some very interesting camera shots contribute to this intense story but I believe to save some of the budget since the state of Florida is not as accommodating financially as other states are they seemed to blur many background scenes and use smaller spaces all of which work well especially since the film is focused on the actors and the story line.
As for the actors, Cranston is spectacular and should surely be considered on nomination day. Leguizamo brings a lot of levity to many of his scenes which works very well for an audience laugh during some intense moments. Gilgun is a nice support to the lead Cranston as is Kruger and Aubrey. I especially enjoyed the emotional conflict brought in with the characters played by Bratt and Anaya, both were superb. There are a number of supporting characters and extras that bring a lot to this film but it is Cranston that rules this movie from start to finish. It is truly worth the ticket if you’re his fan and that of a greatly written story based on truth.