The Informant!

"Excellent"

The Informant! Review


Telling an outrageous true story with humour and irony, Soderbergh crafts an engaging corporate comedy-drama that continually catches us (and the characters) off guard. It's great fun to watch, and has a strongly resonant kick.

Mark Whitacre (Damon) is a high-level executive at ADM, a mega-corporation that supplies corn-related chemicals used in food production. When he notifies his boss (Papa) that the Japanese are plotting to ruin the company, two FBI agents (Bakula and McHale) come to investigate. Then Mark informs them that ADM bosses are involved in a price-fixing scam, offering to work undercover to expose the crimes. Over the next few years, he records key meetings and provides extensive evidence. But something isn't quite right here.

Soderbergh tells this story as a comical caper, with lively camerawork, witty editing and a superbly bouncy score by Marvin Hamlisch. Virtually all of the supporting roles are played by comedians who approach the roles dead-straight but add a serious twinkle to the film. We even get the great Dick and Tom Smothers in key side roles (as a judge and ADM's owner, respectively). None of this makes the film an all-out comedy, but we laugh all the way through it.

Damon is terrific at the centre, perfectly portraying a slightly pudgy Midwestern businessman with his feathery hair-do and too-eager smile. His interaction with everyone else is fraught with innuendo: it's clear from the start that Mark is up to something, although we're not sure what that might be, so each revelation hits us like a perfectly timed punchline. As his rather too-knowing wife, Lynskey is also wonderfully suggestive. And both are marvellously balanced by the befuddled, over-serious people around them.

And this is much more than an entertaining mystery-romp. It's also a perceptive glimpse into personal and corporate greed. How much money and power would you try to get illicitly if you thought no one would catch you? Does this mean you're mentally imbalanced or simply amoral? And isn't the whole world run by this kind of shady dealing anyway? Essentially, we realise along the way that every company and government is complicit in illegal, unethical business. And that's what makes this hilariously fast and smart comedy rather scary as well.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th September 2009

Box Office USA: $33.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $35.4M

Budget: $22M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Fresh: 166 Rotten: 45

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Howard Braunstein, Kurt Eichenwald, , ,

Starring: as Mark Whitacre, as Ginger Whitacre, as Brian Shepard, as Ed Herbst, as Robert Herndon, as Kate Medford, as Mick Andreas, as Kirk Schmidt, as Aubrey Daniel, as James Epstein, Dick Smothers as Judge Harold Baker, Tom Smothers as Dwayne Andreas, Paul F. Tompkins as Anthony D'Angelo

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.