The Informant! Reviews

  • Jul 15, 2020

    Between 2.5 and 3 stars. Although irony keeps in most of the movie, the main character is, at the end, as unbearable and annoying that you want him to stop. (Spoiler: the director has achieved a good portait of a pathologic liar).

    Between 2.5 and 3 stars. Although irony keeps in most of the movie, the main character is, at the end, as unbearable and annoying that you want him to stop. (Spoiler: the director has achieved a good portait of a pathologic liar).

  • Jun 19, 2020

    It is Matt Damon's best performance, but the story and especially the end is extremely frustrating.

    It is Matt Damon's best performance, but the story and especially the end is extremely frustrating.

  • May 08, 2020

    The Informant! is a strange film. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, it sits somewhere between his independent films (The Girlfriend Experience was released in the same year) and his Hollywood studio pictures (such as the Ocean's trilogy, with which it shares Matt Damon). It's described on Wikipedia as "a biographical-crime comedy film" and although that's technically true, it tends towards amusing rather than actually funny. Like most of Soderbergh's films however, it certainly makes for interesting viewing. The Informant! has a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns that is based on the book of the same name (minus the exclamation mark) by Kurt Eichenwald, which tells the true story of the lysine price-fixing conspiracy in America during the 1990s. A lysine price-fixing conspiracy sounds dull and based on the film it is, so the story instead focuses on whistleblower Mark Whitacre and his part on it. Whitacre is far more interesting than corporate fraud, and it is Whitacre that Soderbergh focuses his energies on, to slightly baffling but entertaining effect. Indeed, so bizarre was his behaviour in real life that it would be hard to make a film about him that isn't frequently amusing, and that's probably why Soderbergh sets out his stall with an opening caption explains that certain characters are composites and ends with "So there". Matt Damon plays Whitacre and the film is entirely focalised through him. Despite that, one of the film's biggest twists is so surprising that Whitacre's rambling internal monologues and egocentric self-justification allows him to completely ignore the issue until he unexpectedly blurts it out to FBI Special Agents Brian Shepard and Robert Herndon. Both in the film and real life, Whitacre's involvement with the FBI starts when he decides to tell them about the lysine price-fixing. Whilst he's helping them out, he zones out a conversation about phone tapping and instead starts thinking about ties, compares the importance of his actions to the Watergate scandal, fantasises about making friends with Shepard and going fishing with him, and compares himself to Tom Cruise's character in The Firm. He also decides to embezzle nine and a half million dollars, which he casually admits to half way through the film utterly changing the direction of both the story and the FBI's criminal case. Essentially, Whitacre is incredibly odd. His behaviour throughout the film is boggling, and it was what makes the story so fascinating. In real life, Whitacre was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and although this is included in the film the screenplay invites one to suspect that rather than making him a sympathetic victim of mental illness, it is simply a diagnosis he manipulates a doctor into providing to excuse his egomania. Matt Damon inhabits this role remarkably convincingly and in doing so makes Whitacre likeable in spite of his vast catalogue of character flaws. There's something disarming about his constant explanations for his actions, which sound reasonable to nobody but him. It is to Damon's credit that the audience is happy to come along for the ride. Soderbergh's characteristic direction helps. Typically, he uses lots of close-ups to show how the different characters are responding to situations, whist also providing distinctive flourishes such as occasional onscreen captions in bright pink font. Various interesting camera angles, wide-angles and deep-focus shots make Whitacre's corporate world seem livelier and less dull that the reality undoubtedly was. Marvin Hamlisch's whimsical soundtrack helps. So too do the performances of the supporting cast members: both Scott Bakula and Joel McHale give performances that suggest their characters develop a soft-spot for Whitacre, whilst Melanie Lynskey's performance as Ginger, Whitacre's long-suffering, loyal and slightly dim wife, helps to make him seem as endearing to us as he does to her. Personally, I think The Informant! is best described as a character study, but of a character so incredibly eccentric that it's hard not to smile with affection even when he's affably stealing vast sums of money and then complaining in reasonable-sounding tones about the length of his sentence. One can see why Soderbergh felt the need to add an exclamation mark to the title of the original book. Like most of the director's films, the end result is fascinating, if only because of the sense of comforting bewilderment it engenders.

    The Informant! is a strange film. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, it sits somewhere between his independent films (The Girlfriend Experience was released in the same year) and his Hollywood studio pictures (such as the Ocean's trilogy, with which it shares Matt Damon). It's described on Wikipedia as "a biographical-crime comedy film" and although that's technically true, it tends towards amusing rather than actually funny. Like most of Soderbergh's films however, it certainly makes for interesting viewing. The Informant! has a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns that is based on the book of the same name (minus the exclamation mark) by Kurt Eichenwald, which tells the true story of the lysine price-fixing conspiracy in America during the 1990s. A lysine price-fixing conspiracy sounds dull and based on the film it is, so the story instead focuses on whistleblower Mark Whitacre and his part on it. Whitacre is far more interesting than corporate fraud, and it is Whitacre that Soderbergh focuses his energies on, to slightly baffling but entertaining effect. Indeed, so bizarre was his behaviour in real life that it would be hard to make a film about him that isn't frequently amusing, and that's probably why Soderbergh sets out his stall with an opening caption explains that certain characters are composites and ends with "So there". Matt Damon plays Whitacre and the film is entirely focalised through him. Despite that, one of the film's biggest twists is so surprising that Whitacre's rambling internal monologues and egocentric self-justification allows him to completely ignore the issue until he unexpectedly blurts it out to FBI Special Agents Brian Shepard and Robert Herndon. Both in the film and real life, Whitacre's involvement with the FBI starts when he decides to tell them about the lysine price-fixing. Whilst he's helping them out, he zones out a conversation about phone tapping and instead starts thinking about ties, compares the importance of his actions to the Watergate scandal, fantasises about making friends with Shepard and going fishing with him, and compares himself to Tom Cruise's character in The Firm. He also decides to embezzle nine and a half million dollars, which he casually admits to half way through the film utterly changing the direction of both the story and the FBI's criminal case. Essentially, Whitacre is incredibly odd. His behaviour throughout the film is boggling, and it was what makes the story so fascinating. In real life, Whitacre was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and although this is included in the film the screenplay invites one to suspect that rather than making him a sympathetic victim of mental illness, it is simply a diagnosis he manipulates a doctor into providing to excuse his egomania. Matt Damon inhabits this role remarkably convincingly and in doing so makes Whitacre likeable in spite of his vast catalogue of character flaws. There's something disarming about his constant explanations for his actions, which sound reasonable to nobody but him. It is to Damon's credit that the audience is happy to come along for the ride. Soderbergh's characteristic direction helps. Typically, he uses lots of close-ups to show how the different characters are responding to situations, whist also providing distinctive flourishes such as occasional onscreen captions in bright pink font. Various interesting camera angles, wide-angles and deep-focus shots make Whitacre's corporate world seem livelier and less dull that the reality undoubtedly was. Marvin Hamlisch's whimsical soundtrack helps. So too do the performances of the supporting cast members: both Scott Bakula and Joel McHale give performances that suggest their characters develop a soft-spot for Whitacre, whilst Melanie Lynskey's performance as Ginger, Whitacre's long-suffering, loyal and slightly dim wife, helps to make him seem as endearing to us as he does to her. Personally, I think The Informant! is best described as a character study, but of a character so incredibly eccentric that it's hard not to smile with affection even when he's affably stealing vast sums of money and then complaining in reasonable-sounding tones about the length of his sentence. One can see why Soderbergh felt the need to add an exclamation mark to the title of the original book. Like most of the director's films, the end result is fascinating, if only because of the sense of comforting bewilderment it engenders.

  • Apr 06, 2020

    Matt Damon is extremely likable and gives one of his best performances in the complex yet oddly endearing film the Informant. Its a testament to the direction of the film that you feel completely stumped on what is really happening until the very end. An overlooked bit of satire based on real life events. Worth a peak.

    Matt Damon is extremely likable and gives one of his best performances in the complex yet oddly endearing film the Informant. Its a testament to the direction of the film that you feel completely stumped on what is really happening until the very end. An overlooked bit of satire based on real life events. Worth a peak.

  • Jan 30, 2020

    This movie is funny and factual

    This movie is funny and factual

  • Nov 14, 2019

    It is wildy and deliberately misleading. You don't get that in a genre like such just like the character that doesn't fit in a film like such. The Informant The director Steven Soderberg has been in these cases for so long. Almost a pro. "Almost" is relative here for Matt Damon is the king. The Godfather. He has been here only for a day and he wins over your heart. Convinces you that he is on your side and all of that by a guy who has had an experience of only a month. And Damon's performance has received a lot of buzz for his physical transformation too. And it completely shows. The way he walks and poses and sits with an unapologetic man spreading. Everything in every possible way he calls out for attention that is never actually not addressed. And you'd think that if something goes loud, it would collapse within a moment. But Damon knows this script through and through. The script misinforms you just like the character does, the plot does and every other aspect of the film does, Damon also changes the way his part of the contribution is usually interpreted. Tricking you is what the film wants. Movie magic, the fooling objective of the job gets checked away smoothly. I know the film doesn't get usually mentioned, but this is one of those Soderberg films that despite its polished formal looking set pieces and the fact that it is a film about real events, it is utterly fictional. Beautifully fictional. Like some superhero comic film. Where twists and turns is part of its existence. The way it breathes. It is certainly not one of his stylish but definitely an earnest film. If this deal is to be done in a black alley. Then be it. They will make you sign it by the end of this meeting.

    It is wildy and deliberately misleading. You don't get that in a genre like such just like the character that doesn't fit in a film like such. The Informant The director Steven Soderberg has been in these cases for so long. Almost a pro. "Almost" is relative here for Matt Damon is the king. The Godfather. He has been here only for a day and he wins over your heart. Convinces you that he is on your side and all of that by a guy who has had an experience of only a month. And Damon's performance has received a lot of buzz for his physical transformation too. And it completely shows. The way he walks and poses and sits with an unapologetic man spreading. Everything in every possible way he calls out for attention that is never actually not addressed. And you'd think that if something goes loud, it would collapse within a moment. But Damon knows this script through and through. The script misinforms you just like the character does, the plot does and every other aspect of the film does, Damon also changes the way his part of the contribution is usually interpreted. Tricking you is what the film wants. Movie magic, the fooling objective of the job gets checked away smoothly. I know the film doesn't get usually mentioned, but this is one of those Soderberg films that despite its polished formal looking set pieces and the fact that it is a film about real events, it is utterly fictional. Beautifully fictional. Like some superhero comic film. Where twists and turns is part of its existence. The way it breathes. It is certainly not one of his stylish but definitely an earnest film. If this deal is to be done in a black alley. Then be it. They will make you sign it by the end of this meeting.

  • May 17, 2019

    A very soderbergh-esqe type of film. And that's what makes it so great. Plus the true story it's based on is just mind boggling. Definitely recommend

    A very soderbergh-esqe type of film. And that's what makes it so great. Plus the true story it's based on is just mind boggling. Definitely recommend

  • May 14, 2019

    Dense, efficient cinematography. Endearing, lighthearted voiceovers, delightful mischief, somewhat anticlimactic.

    Dense, efficient cinematography. Endearing, lighthearted voiceovers, delightful mischief, somewhat anticlimactic.

  • Apr 08, 2019

    Matt Damon's performance is great but this movie never feels like anything more than a diversion.

    Matt Damon's performance is great but this movie never feels like anything more than a diversion.

  • Jan 28, 2019

    Meh, I fell asleep, I found it boring. The concept is cute, I can see this being a great film, but I just didn't go for Matt Damon's constant narration style.

    Meh, I fell asleep, I found it boring. The concept is cute, I can see this being a great film, but I just didn't go for Matt Damon's constant narration style.