The Informant! [Blu-ray]
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Mark Whitacre is secretly rolling tape during a meeting of corporate honchos who are illegally fixing the price of food additives. Meeting after meeting, Mark rolls tape after tape. He’s sure the tapes will make him a U.S. hero. What went wrong? Director Steven Soderbergh reteams with one of his Ocean’s trilogy stars for a snappy skewering of big business based on the true story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in U.S. history. Matt Damon portrays Whitacre, whip-smart and immensely likable even as his schemes become increasingly untethered. Pay attention to the fun and intrigue of The Informant! and be informed!]]>
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Top Customer Reviews
As promised, the chuckles do come often, but their source is not your typical one liners. Matt Damon is Whitacre, an inspired choice for the role. His plump, mustachioed and toupeed character comes across so harmless and ordinary you never question why his actions go undetected; even as his concealed recording equipment loudly malfunctions during a covert multinational executive meeting! You laugh at the bewilderment of FBI agents and the DA's office as they are led by the nose by Whitacre's increasingly outlandish antics. One could say "The Informant!" has the educational quality of an Aesop's fable: blinded by their desire to swallow a tasty morsel (ADM), the agents cross their fingers and fail to run even the most basic checks on their informant; checks that would immediately reveal inconsistencies in his stories (such as the true nature of his parentage, for example).
The film is not perfect. Based on the way it was being advertised, I expected something in the same category as "The Pink Panther". In reality, one would not be wrong to describe it as a combination of "A Beautiful Mind", "The Insider", and "The Duck Soup" (Marx Brothers). Sadly, "The Informant!" never quite becomes as touching, thrilling and funny as those films were, respectively. The makers allow it to drag on a bit in the second half as Whitacre's behaviour becomes absurd. The logical explanation for it all arrives only after our initial keen interest has already begun to dissipate. I also hear some grumblings about the film's muted lighting. Since most of the action takes place in offices and hotels, I believe the lighting is true to reality. Anyone who has spent at least one work day in a cubicle, understands how oppressive that atmosphere can be. Despite these possible faults, Whitacre's story and Damon's performance make "The Informant!" worthy of at least one theater trip. Depending on your personal approach, you will see a funny thriller or... a thrilling comedy. Either way, expect to be entertained!
PS: BRAVO! to the filmmakers for sticking to a relatively modest budget ($21 mil)! I am sick of paying to see worthless films with budgets that could bankrupt the economy of a small country.
Having said that this is another illustration that truth is often stranger than fiction. It is the true story of a bumbling con man and pathological liar. Mark Whiteacre is a brilliant scientist but suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder and can't see his own ridiculous behavior. I would buy a used copy and not spend full price for
this mildly entertaining story
Why? Because THE INFORMANT is a slow burner. It's the story of Mark Whitacre, who decides to blow the lid on some illegal doings at the corn-processing plant where he works. Whitacre, however, is anything but the ideal witness--but it takes about two-thirds of the movie to find that out. Kudus to Joel McHale and Scott Bakula as the FBI agents in charge of Whitacre's case, and Soderbergh for actually making a movie of this; and a tip-of-the-hat to Matt Damon, who turns in a nuanced performance. But the character doesn't really build until the third act, which is the when the movie turns from humor to poignancy, and we realize the real tale here.
The thing is, it's just hard to forgive THE INFORMANT its slow build-up. Real hard. It's worth the effort; a lot of the humor is subtle, and the film progressively gets darker, until you realize this isn't a feel-good comedy after all. But it takes so long getting there, a large part of the audience is bound to stop caring. Thus, THE INFORMANT! is for patient fans of comedy (of which there are painfully few today). If nothing else, see it for Damon's spot-on performance; he and Bakula especially are taking this film and running with it, for better or worse (mainly better).
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