Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Informant! Review

There were a ton of potentially decent movies released this weekend. It was also sunny outside here in Vancity.... Summer doesn't seem to want to let Fall arrive. Most people celebrate this. I am relatively indifferent because for me Movies > Sunshine any day of the week. I started the weekend seeing Stephen Soderbergh's latest film - The Informant! - also known as the movie that Matt Damon gained 30 pounds for.
"What was Mark Whitacre thinking? A rising star at agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Whitacre (Matt Damon) suddenly turns whistleblower. Even as he exposes his company's multi-national price-fixing conspiracy to the FBI, Whitacre envisions himself being hailed as a hero of the common man and handed a promotion. But before all that can happen, the FBI needs evidence, so Whitacre eagerly agrees to wear a wire and carry a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, imagining himself as a kind of de facto secret agent. Unfortunately for the FBI, their lead witness hasn't been quite so forthcoming about helping himself to the corporate coffers. Whitacre's ever-changing account frustrates the agents (Scott Bakula and Joel McHale) and threatens the case against ADM as it becomes almost impossible to decipher what is real and what is the product of Whitacre's active imagination."

I really enjoyed this movie. Probably more than I expected. There were a ton of laugh out loud moments - typically when another of Whitacre's lies was uncovered. By the end of The Informant! I didn't know if I should feel sympathy for the character or if I should be glad that he ended up where he did.

Whitacre reminds me of that kid in high school - you know that kid who is somewhat geeky, socially awkward, and with an over-inflated sense of his own worth. He tries his best to fit in by saying whatever he thinks it is that you want to hear. Damon plays it completely straight though. Which is a whole lotta awesome.

The voiceovers that pepper the film are a mix of paranoid ramblings and something that I am well known for - "FUI" - Fucking Useless Information - random facts and interesting (but completely useless) tidbits of information. Soderbergh filmed the movie like a 60's comedy spy caper - from the awesome music, to the kicky exclamation point in the title, to the typeface used for all the titles. And it totally worked. It is a farcical story, the story is almost too ridiculous to believe. Whitacker constantly compared himself to the Tom Cruise character in The Firm and likened the situation to the plot of a Michael Chricton novel. But his own story was far from the plot of a novel.

The supporting cast did a great job - Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Tony Hale and Melanie Lynsky - all good. And because Joel McHale kept asking all his followers on twitter about his hair, I am gonna say that his hair is awesome. Awesome, amazing and fantastic hair.
The movie is pretty much all Matt Damon though. He carries The Informant! admirably. The Bourne Identity it is not. But it is a whole lotta awesome.

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