Customer Review

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You shouldn't have, 18 Feb. 2010
This review is from: The Informers [DVD] (2008) (DVD)
My excitement about The Informers prior to release could be charted on a sliding scale of disappointment. I was stoked when the adaptation was announced with Nicholas Jarecki to direct and Bret Easton Ellis himself to write; pensive when the studio replaced Jarecki with Gregor Jordan, director of the awful Buffalo Soldiers; bemused and frustrated when it was reported the vampire subplot had been dropped, Ellis was leaving the project and that Jordan planned to expunge all elements of satire, farce and black humour, playing the thing completely straight.

What has finally made it to the screen is not quite the car crash I was fearing, although as with the recent adaptation of Watchmen, most of my goodwill towards the project probably stems from love of the source material rather than anything on screen. Indeed, much of the book has, superficially, been replicated directly. The problem is one of tone rather than content. Roger Avary played fast and loose with the narrative of The Rules of Attraction, but nailed Ellis' pungent disrepute dead on. Jordan adheres much more rigidly, but neither he nor his cast appear to have any idea what any of it means.

Jon Foster and the other young actors largely handle their dialogue with a strangely stilted, faltering delivery, seemingly trying to decide what it is exactly they are trying to convey. And they attempt to imbue their 'big scenes' with a gravitas which simply should not be there. I always really felt the book's characters were so numb they have no sense of their own tragedy. And that was what made them tragic. There are attempts to show buried emotion here that feel misplaced. But hey, at least the youngsters are trying. Most of veteran cast members are there solely for their cheques, with Billy Bob Thornton in particular phoning in a non-performance of transparent awfulness. You keep expecting him to turn to the camera and smirk, 'Hey, you know I'm better than this, right?'

The Bryan Metro segment at least retains some humour, and Mel Raido does well, although some of the less palatable stuff has been toned down considerably. The kidnapping segment has force largely due to a committed performance from Brad Renfro, but who thought that it was a good idea to change the ending? Also, because the vampires have been largely removed but are referenced, with Dirk making a small appearance, that section simply doesn't make real sense. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that halfway through the project, Jordan gave up, slapped together a passable edit and moved on. For fanatic Bret Easton Ellis fans such as myself, this simply will not do. I hope to see the extended cut allegedly in existance one day, but I doubt even that can correct some of the flaws here.
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Location: Dudley Port, England

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