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The Informant! 2009

R CC

A top-ranking executive at an agri-industry giant suddenly turns whistleblower envisioning himself a hero, yet his ever-changing stories threaten the FBI's case against the corporation.

Starring:
Matt Damon, Lucas McHugh Carroll
Runtime:
1 hour, 48 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller, Comedy
Director Steven Soderbergh
Starring Matt Damon, Lucas McHugh Carroll
Supporting actors Eddie Jemison, Rusty Schwimmer, Craig Ricci Shaynak, Tom Papa, Rick Overton, Melanie Lynskey, Thomas F. Wilson, Scott Bakula, Scott Adsit, Ann Dowd, Allan Havey, Howie Johnson, Joel McHale, Nick Craig, Cody Puckett, Andrew Daly, David Campbell, Carolyn R. Feltner
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
In 1992 Mark Whitacre, the President of Bio-Product division of ADM (powerful Fortune 500 company), became the highest ranking executive EVER to turn whistle blower. For three years he helped the FBI gather evidence of a multinational conspiracy to control the price of lysine. As a result, US government collected hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from ADM and foreign corporations, followed by prison sentences for three executives. These are events in real life as well as the movie. However, according to the opening credits, the film is not intended as a documentary and does depart from real life facts... The final, cheeky line of the prologue: "So there!", gives us a hint that, though the topic and the consequences suffered by many in this story are somber, what we are about to see is meant to amuse and entertain, as well as educate...

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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
How surprised we were! How could it be possible to translate an almost 700 page detailed book to the screen? Somehow, they did it and with great aplomb. Were this story fiction, no one would ever believe it. Stunning as the events are, the movie managed to weave the story into the almost unbelievable romp in many ways that it was. The music score was absolutely perfect and the actors fantastic. It was possible to identify each and every individual in the movie with those in the book. Were it not for the head shaking unreality of it all, it is really a sad story, of mental illness, greed, and criminal behavior. Unbelievable!
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Format: DVD
Having grown up just a few miles from where the events of THE INFORMANT! took place (though I was just a kid at the time), I may be rather partial to the film; after all, Matt Damon and much of the supporting cast has the personality down pat, with a few aside-jokes that definitely capture the atmosphere of East-Central Illinois. But you don't have to be from here to appreciate the film's humor; you just have to be patient.

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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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This movie was a little slow for me. My husband had to watch this movie for an assignment, so it's not really a movie we would have watched otherwise. The only reason I gave it 2 stars was because it wasn't the kind of role that Damon usually plays which made it somewhat interesting.
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Format: DVD
This movie may be one of the most bizarre character studies I've seen in a while. And I think what makes it stand out for me is how Steven Soderbergh set out to present Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon). The man, an executive/bio-chemist and inevitable whistleblower, is displayed before the audience as a hapless buffoon who manages to delay his own professional demise within his company, ADM, by constructing a house of cards propped up by one astonishing deceit after another.

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.
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