The Informant! is the the story of Mark Whitacre, an ADM CEO turned FBI informant. Mark is letting FBI agent Brian Shepard know all the details about his ADM counterparts, and their price fixing tactics. The only problem is that Mark is giving too many details on some points and leaving things out in others. As the US government starts to form it’s case, they find that this informant may be a defendant.
All of this informing starts when ADM calls in agent Shepard to investigate calls that Mark has received from a man wanting 10 million dollars to give up a mole at ADM that is contaminating the company’s lysine supply. When Shepard shows up at Whitacre’s house to tap his phones for more information on this mystery man, he get’s pulled into a lot more than just wire tapping. Shepard becomes the lead agent on a corporate scandal and Whitacre becomes his hero on the inside. Damon and Bakula play off each other wonderfully and make this duo fun to watch.
A chubby Damon plays the slimy Whitacre beautifully and his internal dialog was a true highlight for me, this off beat information on every thing from the color of butterflies to why he doesn’t like wool sweaters is what makes the movie. So much that when its absent, the film drags and feels a little sluggish. This is in no way due to Damon who totally immerses himself in the role but more that he outshines the talent around him. It wasn’t that his fellow actors were bad but more that they were not left with much else to do but sit in awe of the stupid things that Whitacre would do.
These stupid things don’t make up the comedy that Ocean’s Eleven, Steven Soderbergh fans might expect, but they will leave you with a smile on your face through out the entire run time. The only real problem I had with the movie was that it did lag a bit and with a run time of only 108 minutes, this is not a good thing. It seemed this go around, Soderbergh is trying to make an artsy statement with a mainstream film with at times over-saturated lighting and a 70′s crime drama sound track. I’m not sure if the decision to go with a 70′s TV theme for a movie set in the 90′s will bother some people or not, but I didn’t seem to mind and at times found it more intriguing and expected of a film that states it’s taking liberties before the film rolls. Though I can’t strongly suggest that the Informant! is the place to be this weekend, I can say that I had a fun time watching it and fans of Soderbergh will as well.
I give the Informant! 3 “Invisible Polar Bears” out of 5.
by Ryan Davis