Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Informant (2009)


Company executive Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) decides one day to aid the FBI is capturing his company in an international price fixing scandal. But as the FBI gets closer and closer to making the case, Mark finds his life getting more and more difficult.

I have to admit I've been sitting on this review for nearly a month now. Walking away from the credits I had no idea what score to give the movie. Part satire, part comedy, part character study, all mildly interesting, even at their shining moments, The Informant felt to me like a movie grounded by a single great performance, stuck in a world of mediocrity. Sure there's some good side performances, and I'm always up for a Joel McHale sighting, but throughout the entire tale I never felt any interest in where it was going.

The main character is not likable in the least bit, and I think the movie knows it. Our supporting cast range from bumbling to generic company executives, all the while we have nothing really to connect to. Perhaps I believe the biggest mistake of the film was to make it a satire, rather than a thriller/drama. Throughout the runtime there's an overbearing feeling of forced jokes, bland social criticism, and a narration, that while perfectly done, feels as if it's weighing down the film. These satirical moments feel as if they remove the film of all of its tension, and I have to say they seldom inspired even near a chuckle.

Even with the knowledge that I tend to find movies like this funnier after the fact, and on repeat viewings, throughout the time I found myself more concerned with what time it was, than the characters. Their attitudes all felt cardboard, and disinterested to me. While Whitacre's tale is painful to watch, and easy to get emotionally involved in, I never much cared about the guy. And for a character study piece you need some sort of emotional investment, regardless of whether or not it's positive or negative to see it through. Here it all just felt jumbled. As if the movie wanted to be way too many things at any particular point. It wanted to be a dark comedy drama with social context and an anti-corporation executive stance. In the end all I saw was a film that had more potential than execution, and more intended jokes than actual ones.

While I'm sure it will appease those with its particular brand of humor, I found little to praise, and even less to care about, with this 2009 Soderbergh outing.

2 better thoughts:

Sam Turner said...
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Sam Turner said...

Oh dear. I was quite looking forward to this but yours isn't the first mediocre review I've seen. It's out on DVD here early next month I think. I'll probably still pick it up but my hopes have certainly been reigned in.

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