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Academy Award winner Matt Damon stars in a dark comedy espionage thriller from Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh and producer George Clooney based on a true story of the highest-ranking whistle-blower in U.S. corporate history--The Informant! What was Mark Whitacre thinking? A rising star at agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Whitacre (Damon--The Departed) suddenly turns whistleblower. Even as he exposes his company's multinational price-fixing conspiracy to the FBI, Whitacre envisions himself being hailed as a hero of the common man and handed a promotion. But before all that can happen, the FBI needs evidence, so Whitacre eagerly agrees to wear a wire and carry a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, imagining himself as a kind of de facto secret agent.]]>
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.Read more ›
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).
When ADM, which is complicit in an international price-fixing scheme, garners the attention of the FBI over an extortion scheme, Whitacre begins to see himself as a possible patsy for ADM's illegal endeavors and becomes an informant for the FBI against ADM. But while he's feeding FBI agents, Brian Shepherd (Scott Bakula) and Bob Herndon (Joel McHale), with wire-tapped meetings among the playmakers in the price-fixing, he's also withholding information from them pertaining to his own blithely ignorant and misguided attempts to divert attention from him, as well as his own illegal activity of a different nature.
And the craziest bit is that this is somehow inspired by true events, Mark Whitacre is a satirized characterization of a real person. Oh dear lord.
I think what saves this movie from drowning in its own drool is that it's played for laughs, rather than treat it like a suspenseful corporate espionage film. Matt Damon does a downright amazing job of making this guy seem real and relatable, while simultaneously showing the comically absurd antics and behavior of a white-collar criminal.
Another saving grace is the high caliber casting choices. Matt Damon is the comic relief fixture of the film, surrounded by straight men off which to bounce his inanity.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I watched this after hearing the story on This American Life. It was humorous in a quirky sort of way, which I really enjoyed.Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
Would like to have learned about the underlying real fraud. This story was more about the character.Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
To see ADM agri-business brought down by a bumbling fool like an overweight Matt Damon was a pure delight! He is so believable and then unbelievably stupid as The Informant. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Lucia
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