James Helsby

LRE #26: The Informant!

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Little Red Envelope

In my mailbox this week:
The Informant!

Release Year: 2009
Staring: Matt Damon, Melanie Lynskey, Scott Bakula

When a corporate exec just can’t stand the corruption he encounters inside of his company, he takes it upon himself to get the FBI involved in a major price fixing investigation. But, when all the pieces start falling into place, the bottom falls out from under the puzzle.

To quote, Team America…. Matt… Damon….

Ok, with that out of the way, Matt Damon doesn’t bother me. I actually think he is a rather talented actor. That said, there have been a few movies that he has done that really have agreed with me. Most notably would probably be The Bourne Identity. I thought that was a fantastic movie. And you really can’t complain about his roles in the Oceans movies; they have been excellent.

Well, he has another under his wing. Another great role, where he can really act a little different than his usual parts. Damon plays Mark Whitacre, a exec at Archer Daniels Midland, who is working desperately to improve the efficiency and usefulness of Lysine. When his phone rings one morning, he reports to his supervisors that they are being manipulated by a mole.

Whitacre goes to the FBI, but not for the reason his corporation thinks. He is actually ratting out ADM for price fixing, and the mole was just a ruse. Whitacre decides to cooperate with FBI agent Brian Shepard (Scott Bakula) who sees the potential that this case could make his career. But the pieces aren’t fitting together. One step forwards in the case, seems to be more of a step to the side. Eventually, everything is just running around in circles.

I am an action flick nut. I love me some good explosions and violence. This had none of those things. What it did have was an excellent plot, wonderful writing, and fantastic acting. Damon and Bakula are really well placed juxtapositions. Bakula can project brilliance in one moment, but then the next he will seem like an idiot. An agent who is putting way to much hope into a case that has a continually dwindling thread of logic.

Damon, keeps pumping it in. The more stained his character gets, the better Damon’s acting is. Make no confusion about the fact that Damon can hold his own, and brings his A game.

So while this movie might not be a great classic movie, it is one that you can just sit and watch. It’ s all in the dialog, but as you get deeper and deeper into the film, you start to notice the story doesn’t match. Whitacre starts to fall

apart, both physically and psychologically. When he finally is forced to get his own lawyer, a great performance by Tony Hale is added to the mix. Hale, you might remember as Buster from Arrested Development, still sort-of presents the same character, but in this film it works. The lawyer has just as hard of a time understanding as we the audience do. And you won’t understand what is really happening until the last few minutes finally roll around.

Like I said, it isn’t the best movie ever made, but I don’t regret the time I vested in watching it. If you think that Damon is a bit actor, then it is time to brighten your horizons. Check out The Informant! if you are in for a nice evening, and looking for a little minor humor.

How painful was it: It was really surprising just how uncomfortable this movie made me. It really felt like I was watching Borat again.
Rating: 6/10. A real good twist, after a twist, after a twist, after a twist. None of them were what I was expecting.

The Wife’s Retort: Yeah, I was pretty uncomfortable too. Not too shabby.

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