Friday, September 18, 2009
Meet The Talented Mr. Insider-Outer . . . Believe
It Or Not
Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre in "The Informant!",
which opened today across North America. Steven Soderbergh directs the
film. (Photo: Warner Brothers)
Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com
Friday, September 18, 2009
A sly, charming corporate comedy that grows
Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant!" is a delightful
parody of whistleblower films. Based on a true story detailed in a book by Kurt Eichenwald,
features tall tales, G-men bent on exposing a price-fixing scandal at any cost,
and a man who gives those Feds everything he knows and more. Marvin
Hamlisch provides a music score that lends the film a sunny, innocent and
vintage 1970s feel, as does the filmmaker's cinematography, full of bright
lights and earth tones.
Mr. Damon plays Mark Whitacre, President of the agri-business company Archer
Daniels Midland during the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. He displays a
cheeky wit and wisdom in a role that could be a comedic cousin to "The Talented
Mr. Ripley" character he played ten years ago in Anthony Minghella's film.
The ADM executive is embroiled in a price-fixing scandal within the company and
is pressured to blow the lid off the wrongdoing to the FBI whose special agents
(Scott Bakula, priceless with his facial expressions alone, and Joel McHale) are
trying to shepherd him through. Mr. Damon is especially good here, giving
a flightiness and aloofness that makes his portrayal as devastating as it is
The most clever thing about "The Informant!" is Mr. Soderbergh's decision to
make the film as a comedy, even if it isn't always amusing. A cold dose of
reality shudders down the viewer's spine at several moments. Numerous
whistleblower films (including Mr. Soderbergh's own "Erin Brockovich") and "The
Insider" have an earnest, righteous straight-ahead tone earmarking them as
serious films but "The Informant!", roaring with satirical excess, is more
complex because it deals with the essence of psychosis as much if not more than
it does corporate malfeasance.
"The Informant!" could be compared to a 1970s Quinn Martin television production
and it's this cheery nostalgia that adds to the film's entertainment value.
Boasting an ensemble cast, Mr. Soderbergh's modest and sometimes unassuming film
represents yet another aspect of his versatility, marking him as one of
America's best and busiest filmmakers. "The Informant!" is a sweet,
With: Melanie Lynskey, Clancy Brown and Tom Smothers.
"The Informant!" is rated R by the Motion Picture Association Of America for
language. The film's duration is one hour and 47 minutes.
YouTube unscripted edition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-oHeaNvWNw
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