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Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsHot Docs 2019: The Infiltrators Review

BenScangaMay 6, 201970/100
Starring
Mohammad Abdollahi, Maynor Alvarado, Roman Arabia
Story
Cristina Ibarra, Alexander Rivera
Directors
Cristina Ibarra, Alexander Rivera
Rating
n/a
Running Time
95 minutes
Release Date
April 26th, 2019 (Hot Docs)
Overall Score
Rating Summary
The Infiltrators is a very digestible and acknowledging film that is still worth recommending despite its various shortcomings.

Around 7 years ago, two undocumented youth activists had themselves detained and imprisoned in a notorious detention center. Their reason for intentionally sabotaging their safety like this was so they can expose the center for its immortality and attempt to free their fellow inmates. Now, their story is available for festival-goers to observe on the big screen. Ibarra and Rivera’s debut collaboration piece is a docu-thriller hybrid that uses dramatic retelling to create a captivating message that begs for resolution in the world’s crumbling times.

Though The Infiltrators was not quite the film that was sold to us, it was still easy to get behind some of the genius reality/dramatization fusion on display here. Some scenes create perfect re-tellings of the actual events with cell phone audio and lip-syncing. Not only does it help create an engaging narrative, but it’s also a pleasure to see someone working creatively who genuinely cares about the audiences’ involvement in its universe. The moments of this documentary that focus on the reality of the situations (feeling the real-time urgency of a situation, running along to a certain point while trying to catch a glimpse of the surroundings via the camera’s point of view) are very high peaking points of its quality.

However, some of the re-tellings clog the overlying gimmick, getting old sometime during the halfway mark of the third act, which was a shame. The actors portraying the re-tellings were, unfortunately, not strong enough to carry a biographical narrative like this on its own and they more then loss their enjoyability to watch by the end of it.

The Infiltrators remains interesting for far more than half of the running time, despite certain points where the badgering of the creators’ agendas become too easy to swallow. Just don’t expect to leave the film satisfied, as it has a shockingly cold closing.

*still courtesy of IMDb*


Follow me on twitter @ScangaBen and on letterboxd @theccritic.

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