The Informant! Reviews
The Informant! sees director Steven Soderbergh returning to the territory of making a biopic about a whistleblower after his last effort of doing so on the Academy Award winning biopic Erin Brockovich. But instead of taking a solely dramatic angle on the film, Steven Soderbergh decides to give a really light-hearted mood to The Informant! while maintaining the dramatic nature of the story so that it finds an interesting balance between comedy and drama. Although the film itself is not the most consistently interesting, the approach that Steven Soderbergh takes does manage to ensure that the film transcends the generic style of filmmaking in the usual formula of such a film. The final product is half decent, but Steven Soderbergh's role as director is one of the best aspects of the film simply because he puts a special kind of twist on the film.
The Informant! doesn't live up to Erin Brockovich because it just isn't as inspiring or meaningful. I mean, the two stories are very different and the films follow different styles, but the fact that Steven Soderbergh made both of them left them open to comparison. Both films have their own positive elements such as good acting, but Erin Brockovich is a lot more deep and has firm social commentary whereas The Informant! is more of a talkative film. Erin Brockovich was about the titular woman as well as her involvement in the legal system, whereas The Informant! is less focused on the former and essentially solely dedicated to the latter which means that it is a very talkative film and seems more theoretical than human. The problem is that it doesn't emphasise the people in the film and more just the story itself, even though it does touch upon Mark Whitacre a decent amount. I guess what I'm saying is that The Informant! lacks depth and attempts to make up for it with an innovative style, but there is only so far that it can actually go which means that the story is not always interesting and has a tendency to drag on for extended periods of time at certain moments in the film. A lot of The Informant! is a drag and it isn't consistent as a comedy or drama and comes up short in terms of laughs and effective dramatic themes, so it is a bit of a mixed quality film.
But as a whole, The Informant! was still worth a viewing. While it was imperfect, Steven Soderberg's energetic direction on the film gives it the treatment that it needs to stand out from the crowd. While its story is not too great, the actual storytelling is good because Steven Soderbergh's stylish direction gives it a certain kind of amiable charm. The cinematography is good and reflects an earlier time period in cinema which gives The Informant! the feeling of age that it really needs to have a genuine sense of legitimacy. The cinematography in the film is reminiscent of a classical film style, as is the musical score which gives it the humourous edge of a Charlie Chaplin film and makes the experience more enjoyable. The style is the one thing that makes The Informant! enough to actually stand out from a crowd, and for that aspect mostly it is an enjoyable film. Of course, the cast also do their part to ensure that the film is good.
Matt Damon is a terrific casting choice for the lead role of Mark Whitacre because he captures the correct level of neuroticism for the character in a sense which is both humourous and dramatic and remains consistently interesting, all the while he works on creating a character that viewers genuinely sympathise for. He manages to step away from the standard and stereotypical Matt Damon performance that viewers have come to expect from him through small means, such as the fact that his costume alters his look to have him seem a lot like someone else as well as the sense that he is not an overconfident or ridiculously heroic figure. Although The Informant! does not have all that much of a human side to it, the amount of effort that Matt Damon puts into his performance manages to come off successfully from both a comedic and dramatic perspective which has viewers supporting his actions and laughing at some of his small anecdotes as well. Matt Damon steps into his role well and delivers another successful performance which works as a dramatic role and has a decent comic edge to it at the same tine which ends up ensuring that he carries the film to the end by delivering his lines with realism and dedication to character.
Melanie Lynskey also makes a very genial presence. Although I'm sort of a sucker for her because of her role as Rose on Two and a Half Men which was always a sweet and likable character despite actually being a sociopath, and she brings some of her natural charm over into The Informant! by using it to create a chemistry with Matt Damon which has a feel of reality to it and gives the film a more genuine edge. The Informant gains quite a bit of benefit simply from the presence of Melanie Lynskey, and her delightful line delivery is very enjoyable which ensures that she ends up giving a nice performance and that she is one of the most memorable aspects ot The Informant! in my personal opinion.
Joel McHale and Patton Oswalt also give good supporting efforts to The Informant! of their own right.
But despite the talents of the cast and the innovative style of filmmaking that Steven Soderbergh gives to The Informant! as director, the story is simply too talkative and lacking in depth to feel humane or inspiring and does not match up to his similarly themed prior film, Erin Brockovich.