The Informant! (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/11/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 108 mins

Hugely enjoyable, frequently hilarious and superbly directed comedy-drama with a brilliantly written script and an Oscar-worthy performance from Matt Damon.

What's it all about?
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, The Informant! is based on a true story and stars Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, a high-level executive at agri-industry giant ADM, whose accusations of attempted extortion by the Japanese are brought to the attention of two FBI agents (Scott Bakula and Joel McHale). Questioned by the agents, Mark tells them that the ADM bosses are involved in a price-fixing scandal and he agrees to turn undercover whistleblower for the FBI.

The investigation drags on over the next three years, with Mark dutifully wearing a wire and recording meetings in order to amass the necessary evidence. However, when the case finally comes to trial, Mark is diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, which leads to a series of ever-more jaw-dropping revelations.

The Good
A bulked-up Matt Damon (complete with too-good-to-be-true hairdo) is wonderful as Whitacre, delivering a comic tour de force of a performance that could well land him a Best Actor nomination come Oscar-time. There's also strong support from Bakula, McHale, Melanie Lynskey (as Whitacre's wife) and Tony Hale as Mark's incredulous lawyer.

The film could just as easily have been played straight, but Soderbergh directs it as a corporate comic caper with an intriguing 1960s vibe, heightened by bizarrely colourful captions and a superb swinging score from Marvin Hamlisch. This works perfectly and Soderbergh gets the tone exactly right, with the increasingly hilarious plot twists cleverly drawing attention to underlying serious questions about corporate greed and unethical business practices.

The Great
Scott Z Burns' script crackles with great dialogue and there are several terrific scenes. However, the undoubted highlight is the brilliantly acted, directed and edited scene towards the end, which serves as a payoff to Whitacre's constant (and very funny) stream-of-consciousness voiceover.

Worth seeing?
In short, The Informant! is a hugely entertaining, brilliantly directed and frequently hilarious comedy-drama with a terrific central performance from Matt Damon. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

The Informant! (12A)
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Content updated: 20/10/2017 14:59

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