Friday, 20 November 2009

The Informant! - Review

Steven Soderbergh is seemingly making films via an assembly line these days. Within the past year he has managed a release the epic two part biopic, Che, the intimate, classy yet completely hollow Girlfriend Experience and now his latest, The Informant! starring the ever brilliant and versatile Matt Damon.

Based on the book of the same name by journalist Kurt Eichenwald, The Informant! loosely documents the mid-1990s lysine price-fixing conspiracy case and the involvement of Archer Daniels Midland executive Mark Whitacre (Damon). Possibly because the events of the story itself were completely outrageous, Soderbergh decides to take quite a tongue and cheek approach to the movie adaptation going with jingles from 1970s TV shows - sounding as if it was lifted straight from the original Bewitched series.

Due to the nature of the whole affair it was hard to take any of it seriously, which was obviously the point, however it felt like it needed an injection of cold-hearted drama akin to the reality of the 'heartless' capitalist world to really lift it. As the film developed, the story didn't, making all the complex business of corporate espionage even more confusing than it, perhaps, is in real life. You really needed a lot of patience to 'get' the movie, as the tiny little white lies Mark spoke of slowly but surely spiralled into utter madness of the highest order, such as the truth about his parents and how much money he embezzled while working for the FBI. The voice overs did make me smile but only because they brought back memories of Christian Bale's eccentric performance in American Psycho.

Despite lacking something in the overall story, the acting of the feature was superb. All the cast did a tremendous job and it was great seeing the likes of Scott Bakula, Melanie Lynskey and Clancy Brown attached to such a high profile project. Unfortunately though my main criticisms are aimed at Matt Damon, who was not terrible by any means, however just never seemed believable as Mark Whitacre, never truly creepy or nerdy enough to be the best man for the role.

Final Thoughts
Similar to Soderbergh's Girlfriend Experience and his Ocean's sequels; it had tonnes of class and was presented beautifully, yet it left the audience feeling underwhelmed and empty. Coming across more a parody of the events instead of a genuine dramatisation. Though it was a refreshing black comedy, it was not even nearly as hilarious as it wanted or could have been, making The Informant! a disappointing experience. You have been informed...


See This If You Like...
Ocean's 11, American Psycho, The Lives Of Others

The Informant! is in cinemas everywhere now.

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