Police dramas are one of the primary building blocks of American entertainment (just look how many are in the primetime TV schedule), but it’s always fascinating to see filmmakers from outside of the U.S. tackle the genre. The Intruder (Infiltrant) is a Dutch take on an undercover cop story from director and co-writer
Netherlands police officer Sam (Nasrdin Dehar) is suspended from the force for breaking the nose and jaw of a man who abused his wife in front of him when responding to a domestic violence call. Because he is half-Moroccan and speaks fluent Arabic, he is chosen to work undercover as a real estate agent named Said in order to infiltrate the Deriouchis, a Moroccan crime family who use various homes to traffic drugs. His supervisor Sophie (Simone Milsdochter) tells him, “I want you to get close to them.” While at first Sam/Said takes his role very seriously, he begins to have genuine affection for the family, particularly Abdel (Walid Benmbarek). Sam realizes that while the family deals drugs, they are as devoted to their families as all law-abiding citizens. He is also so undercover that the general police force is unaware of his existence, which unravels his efforts. Sam begins to question whether or not what he is doing is right.
The plot here is well-worn and familiar — there are plenty of films about undercover cops who get too close to the criminals the cop is supposed to take down — but one angle that sets The Intruder (Infiltrant) apart is the characters’ Islamic background. Loyalty is not just based on friendship, it’s based on religious beliefs. Of course, the family that Sam is infiltrating is not simply a good family that happens to sell drugs. For instance, Bourhim (Rachid El Ghazaoui) is a dangerous man with a short fuse.
Though its on a smaller scale, The Intruder (Infiltrant) is clearly influenced by similar films like Infernal Affairs and its American remake, The Departed. The presentation is more street-level than either of those films, and the actors manage to convey their intensity very well. It’s curious why Sam feels such kinship with the criminals, especially since they don’t become very chummy until late in the film (a “buddy” montage doesn’t come until an hour into this 87 minute film). There are sparks of a relationship between Sam and Yarah (Nadia Amin) that is under-explored, and Sam’s troubled relationship with his mother (Betty Schuurman) similarly feels like something is missing.
The Intruder (Infiltrant) might have a generic plot that viewers have probably been seen before, but the strength of the acting makes the film worth a watch.