The Informant!

2009

The Informant!

Critics Consensus

A charismatic turn by star Matt Damon and a consistently ironic tone boost this quietly funny satire about a corporate whistle-blower.

80%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 228

44%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 359,228
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The Informant! Photos

Movie Info

A rising star in the agricultural industry suddenly turns whistleblower in hopes of gaining a lucrative promotion and becoming a hero of the common people, inadvertently revealing his penchant for helping himself to the corporate coffers and ultimately threatening to derail the very investigation he helped to launch in this offbeat comedy from Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh. Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) was fast rising through the ranks at agri-industry powerhouse Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) when he became savvy to the company's multinational price-fixing conspiracy, and decided to turn evidence for the FBI. Convinced that he'll be hailed as a hero of the people for his efforts, Whitacre agrees to wear a wire in order to gather the evidence needed to convict the greedy money-grabbers at ADM. Unfortunately, both the case -- and Whitacre's integrity -- are compromised when FBI agents become frustrated by their informant's ever-shifting account, and discover that he isn't exactly the saintly figure he made himself out to be. Unable to discern reality from Whitacre's fantasy as they struggle to build their case against ADM, the FBI watches in horror as the highest-ranking corporate bust in U.S. history threatens to implode before their very eyes. Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, and Melanie Lynskey co-star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Cast

Matt Damon
as Mark Whitacre
Scott Bakula
as FBI Special Gent Brian Shepard
Joel McHale
as FBI Special Agent Bob Herndon
Melanie Lynskey
as Ginger Whitacre
Thomas F. Wilson
as Mark Cheviron
Tony Hale
as James Epstein
Scott Adsit
as Sid Hulse
Lucas Carroll
as Alexander Whitacre
Eddie Jemison
as Kirk Schmidt
Rusty Schwimmer
as Liz Taylor
Tom Papa
as Mick Andreas
Rick Overton
as Terry Wilson
Ann Dowd
as FBI Special Agent Kate Medford
Allan Havey
as FBI Special Agent Dean Paisley
Howie Johnson
as Rusty Williams
Andrew Daly
as Marty Allison
Hans Tester
as Peter Dryer
Ludger Pistor
as Reinhard Richter
Rome Kanda
as Hirokazu Ikeda
Yoshio Be
as Kazutoshi Yamada
Raymond Ma
as Kanji Mimoto
Hervé Deschamps
as Philippe Rollier
Pascal Ifri
as Alain Crouy
Ann Cusack
as Robin Mann
Dann Seki
as Joon Mo Suh
Jayden Lund
as James Mutchnik
William Marsh
as FBI Special Agent Ken Temples
Tom Smothers
as Dwayne Andreas
Clancy Brown
as Aubrey Daniel
Bob Zany
as John Dowd
Patton Oswalt
as Ed Herbst
Brian Gallivan
as Ron Henkoff
Joe Chrest
as Visiting Client
Daniel Hagen
as Scott Roberts
Samantha Albert
as Mary Spearing
Jimmy Brogan
as Dr. Derek Miller
Paul F. Tompkins
as FBI Special Agent Anthony D'Angelo
Adam Paul
as FBI Special Agent Michael Bassett
Wayne Pére
as Sheldon Zenner
Joshua Funk
as FBI Special Agent Robert Grant
Candy Clark
as Mark Whitacre's Mother
Frank Welker
as Mark Whitacre's Father
Larry Clarke
as Whitacre's Second Attorney
Steve Seagren
as Correctional Officer
Dick Smothers
as Judge Harold Baker
Chic Daniel
as FBI Agent at Raid
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News & Interviews for The Informant!

Critic Reviews for The Informant!

All Critics (228) | Top Critics (47)

  • Although not a blockbuster, The Informant is an interesting, diverting film.

    Jan 16, 2018 | Full Review…

    Ed Koch

    The Atlantic
    Top Critic
  • In the end, it seems as though it's better to aim for searing moments and whiff on greatness than to shoot for the middle and hit it.

    May 6, 2011 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

    Laremy Legel

    Film.com
    Top Critic
  • You never know where you stand with Steven Soderbergh, but you cannot accuse him of resting on his laurels -- or making the same film twice.

    Dec 2, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It may come across like a self-satisfied madcap bauble, but that titular exclamation mark is the key that unlocks the myriad subtextual delights of Soderbergh's timely latest.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Director Stephen Soderbergh and its star Matt Damon have crafted a skittish caper movie, a pyrotechnical display of colourful lies that unravel to a giddy retro score.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Soderbergh has commissioned a relentlessly jazzy, wacky musical score from Hollywood veteran Marvin Hamlisch just so that we realise it's all supposed to be funny.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Informant!

  • Jun 07, 2013
    Entertaining semi-accurate real-life portrayal of an educated bipolar personality with mixed-up perceptions with an improper use of a cute soundtrack that instead of representing the intended irony in the story, distracted the viewer from the more serious tone the film should have acquired. Yet, Matt Damon deserves credit for a fun performance. 55/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2011
    Fatt Damon! There, I said it; but hey, it doesn't make him any less charismatic. In fact, I think it might make him more charismatic, because he's so charming, that he actually made a Steven Soderbergh not that dull, and that's quite the accomplishment, and really makes me think that maybe it wasn't George Clooney and Brad Pitt that made the Danny Ocean films fun, but just Damon being there, so I guess you could say that Soderbergh can only be either boring or... Bourne. Yeah, I know it stinks, but come on, Damon is like the Nega-Bourne in this film, so I have to continue my streak of Jason Bourne films. Hey, if you think that it's bad now, just wait until I actually see the "Bourne" Trilogy; but until then, let's talk about this overweight, overly quiet, when not overly annoying guy that overthinks too much. Well, let me start by saying that I really enjoyed this biopic on me, even if it did take the liberty of making me seem like an effective whistle-blower, when really, I don't have enough people actually looking up my stuff for me to make a difference. No, I know this isn't a biopic on me, partially because I'm not nearly as charming at Mr. Damon; and yet, as much as I praise him for his charisma picking this film up, it's not enough to make this film entirely exciting. Now, the film isn't nearly as tedious - yes, "tedious" - as your usual Soderbergh film, but it is slow; and while that slowness is at its worst early on, and not even strong enough to drown out a certain degree of entertainment, even then, it's consistently present throughout the film. Something else that's at its worst early on, yet still consistent is repetition. It isn't repetative in the same way that some overlong indie films are repetative, where it's one familiar thing after another, coming in to intensify dullness, but more repetative in the way this review is repetative, where I'm just putting the same thing on a loop, padding things out, and while it's not tedious, you're bound to lose engagement, only to be pulled back in by a few decent jokes. ...Okay, so I don't have one now, but just wait, and I'll have another mildly amusing joke for you. Alright, so this film has more comic relief than this review, but even then, that's a bit of a problem, because that kind of comic relief and style is perhaps too constant and feels rather gratuitous, partially because it's a '70s theme style over a '90s timeline. The style adds enough uniqueness to the film to keep it from feeling either too familiar, or too underwhelming, but not only is it a touch overdone, but it doesn't fully fit. Still, now matter how problematic the film's style, it's still sharp, and is among the several elements that help greatly in making the film one of Soderbergh's more entertaining little experiments. As unfitting as the '70s theme style seems, it's still charmingly flashy and used in a fashion that's rather inventive, giving a rather vivid quality to the cinematography, which is, of course - seeing as it's Soderbergh, or "Peter Andrews", if you will -, pretty darn handsome. Another element that supports the '70s theme style, but is enjoyable by its own right, is the score, which really captures the casual aspects of the '70s era in which this film does not take place (it wasn't all amazing rock songs on a level of quality that we can never hope to touch again) in an entertainingly quirky fashion, yet is surprisingly more diverse than I expected. A lot of the tracks are so refreshing and neat, yet keep up the consistently quirky tone, and help in making the film lively, even if it doesn't fit the timeline. Of course, the score comes and goes, but we will always have Matt Damon and the guy that ate him. Yeah, I know the joke's a bomb, but darn it, I promised y'all a joke to break up the dullness in this review, so just run with it. If you want a real example of someone doing a sharp job at breaking up slowness, then stop reading this review and actually watch the film, because whether it's the jolly gut he put on or just him being so lovably cheesy, Damon is bringing in some extra sharp charisma, especially when we here his thoughts, which is too often, but it never gets old, because he's so charming that the style seems both eccentric and down-to-earth; but come the second big twist in the second half, things get more serious, and while we still have the voice-over to break tension, Mark Whitacre is definately in some deep trouble, and Damon adapts quickly and really pulls off what his character's going through. He's not delivering a particularly excellent performance, but Damon carries this film with strong emotion, when he's not carrying the film with charm. In conclusion, Steven Soderbergh can't seem to make a film without at least a couple of slow spots, and sure enough, this film hits its slow notes, as well as some repetition, but what is always there is the overdone and too anachronistic-feeling '70s-theme-over-'90s-timeline style; and yet it's that exact refreshing form of flashy stylizing that keeps the film lively, but what carries it the most is leading man, Matt Damon, who's eventually layered, but always charming performance leaves "The Informant!" to stand as a generally entertaining satirical portrait on Mark Whitacre's rise to heroism and subsequential fall from grace. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Dec 27, 2011
    Steven Soderbergh's satire The Informant! tracks the story of corporate whistleblower, Mark Whitacre. Based upon the 2000 non-fiction novel of the same name, one may expect a thriller more resembling Michael Clayton or The Conversation than a corporate Dr. Strangelove. The form may seem inappropiate, but darker stories have been played for laughs, (Nuclear holocaust isn't exactly a knee slapper). This tongue in cheek perspective is well balanced with the acknowledgment that what we are talking about involves very serious corporate crime, and one man's fragile mental state. But Damon and Soderbergh somehow manage to wring plenty of dark laughs out of a very serious story. Mr. Whitacre is a chemist at Archer Daniels Midland, a big name corn manufacturer. After claiming that a Japanese competitor has implanted a mole within the business, Whitacre is questioned by the FBI. After being forced to lie by his bosses, Mark wants to atone for his crimes, and leaks information about a lysine price-fixing scheme. He becomes the F.B.I.'s inside man giving evidence that they need to make thier case, but they get the feeling that all is not what it seems. As lies pile on lies Whiteacre finds that he is way over his head, zigging and zagging looking for a way out of this mess. Damon perfectly plays a man who seems to have no connection with the truth, and with no moral fiber. While he's lying to his bosses and the FBI, all he can think about is wool clothing, or the metric system. But this is not a sociopath of Lecter level intelligence. Mark is a bumbling buffoon, constantly attempting to evade all that contradicts the world that exists inside his head. Matt Damon is very funny here, but he isn't a total clown. There is a real humanity and desperation that's conveyed when everything is crashing around Mark Whiteacre. It's a shame that this performance didn't get the attention it deserved.
    Brandon S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    Hilariously ironic tale about the most famous whistleblower in history, Mark Whitacre. Steven Soderbergh has some flawless direction, as usual, and Matt Damon is very funny in his role.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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