The Informant! - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Informant! Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 22, 2010
Matt Damon is so confident and charismatic as a compulsive liar who becomes an unusual corporate whistleblower for the FBI, and even if the narrative is not as compelling as it could be, this is a nice film that manages to be interesting in all its oddness.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2009
review coming.
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2009
Matt Damon becomes the American other Americans think of if asked "what is an American?" in this pointed farce that targets the difference between what Americans are versus who we think we are. The barbs are fast and furious, probably requiring a second viewing, and'll leave you wondering: "when did I know this likable charmer was lying" and "do I realise when I am?" All in all an entertaining package.
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
A return to form for Soderbergh, Matt Damon puts in his most brilliant comedic performance.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2011
Steven Soderbergh's The Informant! Is an amusing eccentric comedy about Mark Whitacre played by Matt Damon. The Informant! Is based on Whitacre true story on how he became a whistle blower to the feds so he advances his career in the agricultural industry. The film has an intriguing story and manages to be funny. The cast here that star alongside Matt Damon are wonderful. I especially enjoyed Scott Bakula's performance as Agent Brian Shepard. What separates The Informant! From most other comedies is that it takes a true story and put a spin on it to make it more enjoyable. This a more intelligent form of comedy than most other films and it may not appeal to many people. But for those who like this type of humor, The Informant! Is a good film that's well paced and not too boring. There are bits of humor thrown in throughout the film and the film manages to be different as much as it is funny. Sure the film isn't the best, but for what it is, The Informant is a well made film with a good story, good acting and good humor. Steven Soderbergh's directing is solid, and he has made another entertaining film held together by a very good cast and a good script. If you like something different, then The Informant! Is the film for you. But if you expect something thrilling and suspenseful, you won't find it here. What you'll get with this film is an intelligent comedic with a good, engaging story.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2010
Soderbergh is usually half kooky and fun and half pure fantasist. The Informant! is the pinnacle of the zany antics Soderbergh brings to the screen, meshing together a true story of corporate greed with the instability of a man who is both a hero to the bedraggled masses, and also a ferociously unlikable and untrustworthy sycophant, hell-bent on his own personal agenda and taking the government, the press, and his employer along for the ride. At first it's purely a film about taking down powerhouse big business in an attempt to make things right, but morphs into a maze of hypocrisy and eccentricities. We are accompanied along the way with a voice over narration that generates a bevy of trivia that is insightful but rarely justified. Still, this colorful commentary is rich with nuances to the instability of our lead protagonist, Mark Whitacre, who voices his concerns about the deceitful ADM along with his own accolades, his words the unfortunate entourage of the entire film. Because the FBI working with him agrees with the portrayal he puts forth, we give in to this portrait and believe he's odd, but a good man. Then, once everything starts tumbling around his ears, not only are we allowed to see ADM taken over for a plethora of charges, but the true form of Whitacre, who is both scary and unstable. He's still a man of morals and doing the right thing, but the lies mount and his intentions go into an unfortunate gray area. The process is fascinating to watch, especially when Whitacre confesses to these crimes, most in his own head. The film also carries a nostalgic soundtrack, groovy titles, and a stellar cast. Most of the supporting roles are given to people usually associated with comical roles, including Tony Hale from Arrested Development, Joel McHale from The Soup and Community, and comics Patton Oswalt, Paul F. Tomkins, and Tom Papa. It's really just a spectacular ride.
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2011
A quirky little satire examining the inner machinations of corporate greed, The Informant! features a surprisingly unhinged performance from Matt Damon and a refreshingly ironic tone.
Super Reviewer
½ May 10, 2011
I couldn't help but feel uninvolved throughout the entire movie.
Super Reviewer
March 18, 2011
If you plan on watching Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant!" please do yourself a favor and watch it twice. This is an extremely difficult film to embrace with one viewing but once you get your bearings it really is a unique and wonderful experience. Matt Damon is exceptional. I feel like Damon doesn't get the credit he deserves for his performances in the past decade. He's actually a great character actor who takes some risky roles, and "The Informant!" is one of them. When you put the whole story together it's a fascinating one, so please don't dismiss this film right off the bat, it is much more clever than it first appears.
Super Reviewer
½ January 8, 2011
This is a very smart film...maybe too smart. It's definitely not for mainstream audiences and it's one of those films where you have to pay close attention and constantly be thinking about what's going on at all times. The story is no rollercoaster ride - it actually lies quite flat for the length of time. The cast is wonderful and the story is pretty interesting, but it just isn't the kind of movie you put on to have a good time with.
Super Reviewer
½ March 1, 2010
The Informant! is based on the true story of corporate whistle blower Mark Whitacre who came to the FBI with evidence of global price fixing, but caused their case to become threatened when it became obvious that he was a compulsive liar and embezzler. The film is a kind of comic throwback to the cold war thrillers of the 70s with the espionage being perpetrated by big business rather than the super powers. In fact it is the tone that Soderbergh chose for the film that never really sat well with me; namely the soundtrack that consists of a constant stream of cheesy lift muzak gives it the feeling of a light-hearted sitcom and although Matt Damon puts in a winning performance as Whitacre, the format really contains little more than stream of scenes involving men in ties having meetings which becomes quite tiresome by the end of the film. Scott Bakula is his usual likable self as the lead investigator but the rest of the rather forgettable cast don't really get much of a look in. Beyond the mild amusement and disbelief at Whitacre's actions it all feels a little too flimsy and the material didn't really have the legs to last nearly two hours for me. An interesting story that is almost scuppered by the rather misjudged approach.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2010
There's the old term "one trick pony". If you think about that phrase - a show animal with one trick. It may be an amazing trick, but watching the pony perform the same trick for an hour and a half.... well, you get the picture.

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?
Super Reviewer
September 20, 2009
This movie is very profoundly confusing. Matt Damon plays a pahological liar whose untruths have grown, evolved and mutated into an independant entity that has eaten his life and would appear to be wearing him like a meatsuit. The character that Damon plays is based on a real-life person who blew the whistle on the monopoly and strangehold that his company has over thier field. That is all well and good, but he doesn't just blow the whistle - that would be too obvious. The instument he plays seems more akin to a series of hidden and remote-controlled slide whistles. That is so say, that his cooperation is never transparent, hisinformation is not always useful or accurate and seldom both at once. I think the bulk of the comedy comes from how normal and boring Damon's character looks. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would send every-freakin'-body on a wild goose chase. His intentions are never clear and his stance is never definite. I gave up assuming that he's really deep and came instead to the conclusion that he's really just very shallow, and doing all this for his own profit and amusement. It helped me make sense of an otherwise hopelessly tangled narrative.
Super Reviewer
October 10, 2010
Following the epic, political biopic "Che", director Steven Soderbergh takes on another biopic, resulting in a strange little project for him and star Matt Damon.
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.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2010
While not horrible its not great.
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2010
Friends, I can't even recall this one coming to a local theater. If it did, I can see why it died quickly and with little fanfare. I think it may be because of bungled PR. I tell you, I am absolutely mystified by references to this movie as a comedy, or a dark comedy, or a satire -- not that being tagged as a satire would draw in masses of viewers. I am further mystified by at least two nominations -- including the Golden Globes -- for Matt Damon as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. I would very sincerely like to hear a good argument for how this might actually qualify as a comedy in any way, shape, or form --- or even a satire for that matter. I mean, there are certainly humorous moments in this one, but I fail to be able to identify any of the "laugh out loud" moments I've read about in passing references. If we're talking comedy in the classical sense, I'll give getting out of jail alive and having your wife still waiting for you after nine years of incarceration "comic." But if this isn't -- at minimum -- a tragicomedy, then I might be living in a different dimension -- as I've sometimes heard from people. For me, this is a finely told tale of the wide-ranging human condition focusing on the hard part -- a kind of grand expose of the flailing frailty of human beings. And it's a biopic -- based on a true story. This just intensifies the tragic nature of the movie for me. As some of you know, I've not thought much of Matt Damon's acting ability in the past. Well, he's definitely on my radar now, I tell you true. We do evolve. What a great acting job. In fact, that goes for every single performance in this movie. Everyone is so perfectly restrained, yet so perfectly emotive. SO REAL. That scene where Scott Bakula -- who kills in his role -- exposes the psychiatrist letter forgery brought tears to my eyes. And I'm not a guy who cries easily. What an amazing ensemble effort. I've not really thought anything, positive or negative, about Steven Soderbergh in the past. But he's also on my radar now with a bullet. To get perfect acting out of every player in a project, you have to credit the director. Props to Soderbergh for sure. My only gripe with this movie is the bipolar emphasis. I know many people who live with a bipolar condition -- what used to be called manic-depressive disorder. I think the mental illness angle chord is stuck a bit too often and a bit too unfairly. Granted, this man apparently is bipolar in real life, but harping on this does not explain his inveterate lying. Please believe me, lying as a desperate -- almost high art -- in this case -- and living with a bipolar condition do not necessarily go together. This man, Mark Whitacre, has many many contributing forces shaping his behavior. Melanie Lynskey, probably best known as Charlie Sheen's obsessed neighbor in Two and a Half Men, continues to amaze me, and I do not know who Tony Hale is, but I guarantee you that he's a comer. You must see this movie, Flixsters. And not because you might have heard that it's a comedy. The Informant! may nearly break your heart.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2010
not a really funny movie but its not trying to be and its not that kind of laugh out loud movie but for what it is its good. B
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2010
I really enjoyed this jolly tale of corporate skullduggery which just about makes you believe in it. Damon is a revelation in a fun role he totally inhabits - you will forget Jason Bourne in seconds. A wonderfully irreverent soundtrack and period detail add to the farcical atmosphere which pervades.
Super Reviewer
March 21, 2010
This is a weird thing to mention in a review, but the font used in this film is just great. It's fun, and it's one of several things that make this film the off-beat, odd, and quirky little charmer that it is.

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.
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2009
"Based on a tattle-tale"

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.
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