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The Informant! 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars (47) IMDb 6.5/10

The US government goes after an agri-business giant that's accused of price fixing using evidence that's been submitted by their star witness. The thing is, he is the company's vice president/turned informant. The film is based on a true story.

Starring:
Matt Damon, Lucas McHugh Carroll
Runtime:
1 hour, 43 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Crime, 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.
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Not sure what they were trying to achieve here but it didn't work for me. I was hoping for a political thriller but instead got a random, quirky mash-up of black comedy and crime caper which I found neither funny nor entertaining. A vaguely relevant, waffly narration added to the confusion while a highly irritating musical soundtrack gave the experience of watching a silent movie for big chunks of the film. On top of all that it has the feel of a 70s/80s film despite the graphics suggesting it was set in the 90s - as a general rule I cant stand uncecessarily dated films though there are exceptions to that rule. A missed opportunity here - it needs a complete rework; either the plot should be taken seriously which could offer the potential for a great film - think 'The Double' with Richard Gere as a case in point. Or an all-out comedy could be based on the story - though as its based on true events I think the former of those two options would work much better. It would appear the producers have tried to combine the two genres and in my opinion failed dramatically. After about midway through the film seemed to drift from the plot entirely and became no longer about a company scandal but more a family drama focused on a person's affairs. As a result I lost track of it and just left the thing on as background noise.
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Format: Blu-ray
The film's cornerstone is a great performance from Matt Damon, who plays successful company executive Mark Whitacre. Whitacre has been placed in the awkward situation of having to work with the FBI undercover, gathering information on his colleagues involvement in price fixing. His FBI handlers (Scott Bakula and Joel McHale, who put in beautifully measured efforts) at first have nothing but quiet admiration for Whitacre, but this soon changes to frustration and disbelief as Whitacre's fantasies, lies and even his own wrong-doing are slowly revealed, sometimes in an amusingly casual manner by Whitacre himself. Although the events take place during the nineties, director Soderbergh uses a lot of clever trickery to make it feel like a completely different age - I think this is the first film I've seen where the 90's feel truly nostalgic - don't be fooled though, a lot of the hints are out of place, such as the hippy-era pink scene titles. I think this may go some way to explaining why I found myself constantly reminded of American Psycho, a much darker comedy of course, but which is still steeped in rich references to its own decade, and also comes with an unhinged narration from a loony high-flyer.

There are some problems though. The Dixie-land jazz interludes don't always work, and Matt Damon's make-up could be better (he looks like a twenty year old wearing a wig and false moustache). The comedy will definitely be too subtle for some - I found myself smiling all the way through rather than laughing out loud (although I did on a couple of occasions), but I don't have a problem with that. I also feel that the film is likely to grow on you over time. It certainly has enough depth for repeated viewings.

Blu-Ray production is no better than OK.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Very different to anything I've viewed before. Although it says it's set in the '90s, it has the feel and appearance of something out of the late '70s instead. MD's internal monologue is off-the-wall from the get-go, and it's appropriate, if a little 'odd' or unexpected, as it really fleshes out the character. I won't say more, as other people give more in-depth reviews about the story and such. I'll just say that I find it a very entertaining movie that left me constantly wondering what on earth the nutball would say next. The fact that it's based on true events makes it all the more watchable. A marginally dark comedy that might make one break a grin, but no laughs available.
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Format: DVD
Mark Whitacre is a high ranking executive at ADM, a corporation specialising in cereal and grain processing.
When ADM's 'Lysine' production repeatedly fails to meet production targets Whitacre is put under pressure to fix the problem. He lies to his bosses that the Lysine plant has been infected with a virus which is causing the Lysine producing bacteria to die, and claims a rival from a Japanese company is demanding $10 million to provide both a cure and reveal the ADM employee who is secretly working for a rival. When ADM call in the FBI on the grounds of corporate blackmail, Whitacre then backtracks on his industrial extortion story and reveals to the FBI that ADM is involved with other corporations in a massive price fixing scandal. And when the FBI ask him to go undercover to provide evidence the lies become bigger and bigger.
While it's not a bad film 'The Informant!' is fairly disappointing. Matt Damon does a good job as Whitacre and there are some amusing moments, but story wise it's just not that thrilling. It's a typical tale of a habitual liar who's lies eventually catch up with him. If you're looking for a film with a similar storyline try Billy Ray's 'Shattered Glass' and 'Breach', and Lasse Hallstrom's 'The Hoax', all of which are far more absorbing and thrilling tales of lies and deceit.
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