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'The Informant!' Movie Review

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


Matt Damon The Informant

Matt Damon in 'The Informant!'

© Warner Bros Pictures
Matt Damon packed on 30 pounds to play a wacky, delusional corporate whistle-blower in The Informant!, a comedy which reunites the actor with his Ocean's 11, 12 and 13 director Steven Soderbergh. One of the most entertaining, well-written and funny movies of 2009, The Informant! was worth the weight gain for Damon as he delivers what's easily his best performance to date.
Damon is absolutely hysterical as a pudgy corporate semi-bigwig who agrees to cooperate with the FBI. Director Soderbergh shows a steady hand at the helm, letting scenes build and Damon shine as this bizarrely engaging nerdy guy with an inflated belief in his place in the world.

Giving more than the most rudimentary details of the plot away would be spoiling the fun of watching The Informant! slowly reveal its true colors. Damon plays Mark Whitacre, VP at agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Mark makes contact with the FBI on a minor matter that soon escalates into an major agency investigation of international price fixing. The more the FBI relies on Whitacre to get the goods on his higher-ups, the more of a loose cannon Whitacre becomes. He believes he's a James Bond of the corporate world, when he's really more like the klutzy Inspector Clouseau. Fumbling, bumbling, and stumbling his way through secret meetings, Mark does everything wrong yet not one corporate exec catches on.

Matt Damon and Scott Bakula in 'The Informant!'

© Warner Bros Pictures
I'm not always a fan of voice-over narration - I find it distracting and in some cases just lazy storytelling - but The Informant! makes the most of this creative device, and I can't imagine this tale unfolding without its use. As Whitacre, Damon's voice-over provides us with real insight into just how unstable and messed up this guy really is. Whitacre really believed that after turning in his bosses, he'd be handed the reins to run the company. It's so ludicrous yet this crazy guy, who has a closet full of disturbing secrets, thought he would come out smelling like a rose after the FBI wrapped up its case and those involved in price fixing were hauled away.

The story of Mark's cloak and dagger escapades would be ridiculously unbelievable if it weren't for the fact this film is based on true events. Adapted by Scott Z Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum) from Kurt Eichenwald's bestseller, The Informant! is weird, wacky and totally engaging. And it just gets more and more bizarre as the film goes on - don't go out for popcorn and/or a soda, you'll miss something important.

Matt Damon The Informant

Matt Damon in 'The Informant!'

© Warner Bros Pictures
Damon's brilliant, Soderbergh's at the top of his game, and the entire cast of supporting players - led by Scott Bakula and Joel McHale as special agents assigned to work with Whitacre and Melanie Lynskey as Mark's wife - are absolutely terrific. The Informant! deserves its exclamation point.


The Informant! was directed by Steven Soderbergh and is rated R for language.

Theatrical Release Date: September 18, 2009

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
The Informant!, Member willyt2

Ever since Steven Spielberg's ""Saving Private Ryan"" came out in 1998, Matt Damon's nickname has been Matt ""Da Man"" Damon. His character in ""The Informant!"" may not be ""Da Man"" but I can tell you right now that, after seeing the film, Matt Damon is still ""Da Man"" as an actor. The film revolves around a man named Mark Whitcare who was born in Warren County, Ohio. The true story tells the audience that he and his family have moved to Decatur, Illinois and he has been working for lysine developing company called ADM and he has even found his way into upper management. Whitcare is unwillingly pressured by the FBI into working as an informant against the illegal price-fixing activities of his own company. He then gradually gets the idea that he's a true secret agent. But as his constant lies keep piling up, his world begins to crash down on him. The main goal of a film is to be interesting. Because of this, some movies try to be different. In fact, some movies try to be too different and they don't make any sense like ""A Clockwork Orange."" But some films try to be strange and end up being quite good like ""Donnie Darko"" or ""Edward Scissorhands."" ""The Informant!"" was random and bizarre and I liked it because it looks at itself as a comedic satire and doesn't take itself too seriously. The wide range of instruments in its score, the narration of random topics at certain points, and the weird dissection of Whitcare's bipolar disorder were all great elements a different movie. Matt Damon gives a stellar performance along with the movie's supporting cast who help the audience understand the story better because of their comedic timing and the way they develop their own characters. The writing is sharp and the story does a good job a stretching out a boring story into an interesting and funny film. Even though there isn't much to dislike about the movie, the film is simply good, not great. I honestly think there were no faults to ""The Informant!"" yet there was nothing ground-breaking about it and it just needed more great elements than mentioned here to make it a four star movie. But if I were to get strongly specific then I would ask, ""Why does there need to be an exclamation mark at the end of the title?"" After watching the film, I still don't understand why it's there and I found no secret meaning or anything of the sort. Anyway, I like the film and I think you should see it the theater or buy it on DVD.

1 out of 1 people found this helpful.

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