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Editorial Reviews

INFORMANT is a fascinating portrait of Brandon Darby, a radical left-wing activist turned FBI informant. In 2005, Darby became an overnight hero when he traveled to Katrina-devastated New Orleans and braved toxic floodwaters to rescue a stranded friend. Soon after, he co-founded Common Ground, a successful grassroots relief organization. But over the next few years, he began hiding a shocking secret. After two young protestors were arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Darby revealed he had been instrumental in their indictment as an FBI informant. Today, having renounced his left-wing past, he is a tea-party darling who writes regularly for the right-leaning web site The only film with access to Darby since his public confession, INFORMANT meticulously constructs a picture of Brandon's life - before and after the many death threats he has received - through interviews and tense reenactments starring Brandon himself. Darby's version of events is accompanied - and often contradicted - by evidence from acquaintances and expert commentators, posing complicated questions about trust and the nature of reality. As David Hanners of St. Paul Pioneer Press suggests, "When you interview people about Brandon Darby, you realize that everyone has a different idea of who he is. In addition to trying to unlock the mystery of Darby, INFORMANT offers an powerful insider look at the hidden use of informants in contemporary America - an especially timely issue in light of the recent leaks about government surveillance.

Product Details

  • Actors: Brandon Darby, David McKay, Scott Crow
  • Directors: Jamie Meltzer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 19, 2013
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,930 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Movie Guy on September 28, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This review contains what is considered "plot spoilers." Since this is a documentary of events that have happened, I consider the ending a foregone conclusion.

This is a lower tier documentary. It is like someone describing a football game he was in while showing you pictures of the stadium and players when it was over. Brandon, a white guy from Texas, becomes appalled that white communities post Katrina formed groups of vigilantes patrolling their own neighborhoods. He doesn't trust government, so he opts to help the Ninth Ward district on his own, because as a private citizen he can do more than FEMA and the Red Cross combined. Brandon is clearly not a rocket scientist. There are topographic reasons while this lower district should not be rebuild, i.e. it won't stay above water much longer, but to many people it is home, even those without gills.

Brandon attracts the attention of the FBI and agrees to play a snitch. He infiltrates a group of Austin anarchists who want to disrupt the GOP convention in St.Paul, a small group out of 1,000s of protestors. This group decides to cross the line on activism, something Brandon could have easily prevented being a role model, but he chose not to. Instead he allowed them to create a situation that needed to be stopped. Some call it patriotism, others call it entrapment. If a man starts a fire, then puts it out himself do we praise him as a firefighter or curse him for being an arson?

Being outed, Brandon has screwed his life up so much that the only people who would talk to him was the Tea Party, which seemed to mesh with his intellect and desire to destroy government from the right instead of the left.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Beeker on September 22, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This documentary is, at its core, about the stories people tell to themselves and others about their actions and place in the world. The director did a terrific job letting Mr. Darby express the painful and emotional arc of his career as an activist then an informant, juxtaposing his former anarchist and leftist friends throughout as contrary and interrogative voices. The film pressed home for me the messy and contingent nature of the political and moral spheres - yet for all that, at the end of the day, we are still compelled to act by what our best lights demand of us. That is the moral of Mr. Darby.
I would have liked to have seen more on what attracted Darby to Andrew Breitbart's Tea Party conservative populism. The irony that the so-called Tea Party is more in line with his original populist, anarchist, grassroots ideals than the Leftist power structures he came in contact with is a rich mine for, I hope, more analysis in future works.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Excellent film about an FBI agent-provocateur who infiltrated left-wing activist groups in Austin, Texas and New Orleans. The director provides the informant with plenty of camera time, enough to hang himself. Unfortunately, Darby continues his work as a right-wing agent and apparently has had some role in stirring up right-wing attacks against Obama about the humanitarian crisis of child immigrants on the Texas border.
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