30 September 2009

Review: "The Informant!"

No, this is not my second favourite film, it just happens to be the first new film I have seen since starting my blog!

The Informant! is a film by Steven Soderbergh, starring Matt Damon. Soderbergh has directed some very well known American movies in the past decade (the Oceans 11 films, Erin Brockovich, Traffic), and I would not call this his best film. Traffic will stand as his best directorial effort for some time, I believe. The Informant! has received an awful lot of buzz in the past month due to its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. My desire to see this movie, which was pretty dismal to begin with, lessened with each news article I read and with each viewing of the trailer on television. I feared that the film would be too lowbrow for my taste, and I have never been a fan of films that advertise themselves as true stories. Sorry, I just have little desire to go watch a film based on the life of a real person. I am the same with books, I prefer fiction over non fiction.

In the film, Matt Damon plays Mark Whitacre, a vice-president of a large corporation who begins working with the FBI as an informant in an attempt to bring down the company. The film works as a dark comedy and there are many elements of the film that are quite humorous and unique. There are many times when Damon's character is in the midst of a conversation and we begin to hear the character's thoughts through the use of narration. It is quite clever and gives the audience more insight into the character. Whitacre's personal life begins to suffer due to his role as informant and he tries to get the FBI to shut down their investigation. Brian Shepard (Scott Bakula), the FBI agent in charge of Whitacre's case, tells him that the U.S. Government has expressed interest in going after the company and that the only way to protect himself is to continue to work as an informant. What follows is a bizarre turns of events that are so unbelievable (as the film's poster reads) that it is hard to believe that it is based on real events.

I really enjoyed the film until about the halfway point, after that the pace slowed down and it felt like it was a chore to enjoy the rest. There were so many twists and turns at the end that I feel like Steven Soderbergh spent too much time setting up the film. Matt Damon is a good actor, but not a great one, and he played the role of Mark Whitacre well, but neither the film nor the role will go down in history as his greatest accomplishments. It also seems like so much emphasis was placed on Matt Damon's role that the other characters come off as one-dimensional. I do not know if I would go as far as to say it is a black comedy, but it has its comedic elements and is enjoyable for the most part.

My rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.

And to the bitches sitting behind me in the theatre, next time you want to talk through a movie SHUT UP.

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