The Informant! Reviews
The Informant includes a stellar performance by Matt Damon, who plays an upper management type in a large agro corp (think high fructose corn syrup) who is hip to the company's illegal price fixing deals. He panics when the FBI starts sniffing around, and, well, one lie leads to another, each one more outrageous than the one prior - and yet, the FBI doesn't catch on for the longest time (seems like forever, if you ask me).
Scott Bakala is totally miscast as the FBI special agent in charge. His part is simply ridiculous and he seems to not know if he's playing it for laughs or is wondering how the script can be so aweful if Damon signed on for it.
To tell the truth - Damon's part IS the film. He pulls off being sincere while telling a lie to cover up a lie that was trying to mislead the Feds or his higher ups, or even his wife. As each lie becomes a bigger fish story, he starts to believe his own rhetoric (hmm. kind of like most politicians - so maybe there's a subtext here that I've been missing - wow, Soderberg's brilliant.... nah).
Sorry - at its core the film works on a certain level, as you almost can't wait to see the next whopper coming out of Damon's mouth - but a film needs to be more than that; so in spite of Damon's spirited and believable performance, this film barely eeks out a fresh rating from me as the yuk yuk, aren't we funny feel of the film (complete with some of the more inane, really stupid music tracks I've heard in many a moon) really started to get on my nerves. If you appreciate another good performance by Damon, and feel it's nice to see him not playing an action hero, then go ahead and rent this one - otherwise, get into your mustang and ride, Sally, ride.
After all, would I lie to you?
Based on the real life events of Mark Whitacre (Damon), in the early 1990's, who was the vice-president of agri-chemical firm 'ADM'. Suffering from Bi-polar disorder and being highly convincing in his storytelling, he liaises with the FBI to root out a possible industrial spy in his workplace and then reveals that his employers are involved in a price-fixing cartel. The FBI take a massive interest and have Mark gathering evidence and wearing wires to bring his employers down. The problem is though, is that Whitacre also seems to be a compulsive liar and gradually reveals his own involvement in the embezzlement schemes.
A bizarre change of pace for Soderbergh and very unlike anything he has done before. As much as it was a fine attempt, I wasnt entirely convinced. I didn't feel that the tone was right. I could see that Soderbergh was going for the absurdity in the situation but it could maybe have been a better film, had he played it straight and decided on some tension. However, given the facts, this story may have been difficult to take seriously.
The whole film has the look of a comedy but with very few laughs. The overuse of dramatic music at sporadic moments is off-putting and after the first couple of times, with the novelty wearing off, it becomes intrusive and unnecessary.
Damon is perfectly cast-against-type in the role of Whitacre, complete with dodgy 'tache and hair-do. Despite being quite irritating, he's highly entertaining and his recurrent voice-over throughout, is both humorous and informative. It's a performance that's worthy of attention and kept my interest until the end, which did seem a liitle far off at times.
Although interesting, it's not an entirely succesful change of direction for Soderbergh, but it's a terrific turn from Damon.
This is a weird movie. It just screams "Hey! I'm quirky!" I'm ok with that though. It's not a broad farce type movie, and even though it got wide release, it's not a big commercial affair or anything, but it is a weird, and darkly funny film that's the mostly true tale of an interesting (to say the least) guy involved in a big corporate mess.
Damon is just fantastic. This is one of his best and most memorable roles. His character is just a hoot, from the hair, to the gut, to the funny little moustache, to all of his personal issues and his squirmy nature. You can tell that Damon had a lot of fun with this one. Joel McHale and Scott Bakula are also really good as two FBI agents Mark (Damon) cooperates with. Melanie Lynskey is not too shabby as Mark's wife, but for me, one thing I lreally liked was the appearance of many of the smaller roles and cameos, such as Eddie Jemison, Tom Wilson (aka Biff Tannen), Clancy Brown, Patton Oswalt, and the Smothers Brothers.
This film is not for all tastes, and it may just be a tad bitt too quirky for it's own good, but it made me smile, and sometimes, you don't need much more than that.
The U.S. government decides to go after an agri-business giant with a price-fixing accusation, based on the evidence submitted by their star witness, vice president turned informant Mark Whitacre.
"The Informant!" is a snappy, witty, quick-moving film about a corporate schlub who lands himself in the middle of an FBI investigation into price fixing. The film's strength is the ambiguity with which it treats its main character, a compulsive liar played by Matt Damon. We don't know of his condition at the film's start, so it's only gradually throughout, as pieces of his story to the FBI either fall into place or fall apart, that we start to wonder how much he can be trusted, and indeed at times whether the corporate dirty dealings he exposes exist or are the product of a delusional mind.
Damon gives a terrific performance in what I think would be a fairly tough role. The voice over to the film is priceless; we hear Damon's character's completely random and quite mundane thoughts as he goes about his business, criminal and otherwise. A very good movie from 2009 that was unfairly overlooked.