Sunday, 5 December 2010

Film Review: THE INFORMANT! (2009)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Running time: 108 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 20th November 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 5th December 2010.


I think it was the trailer that grabbed my interest in this one when it came out last year. Of course, living quite a way from any multiplex it’s quite difficult to get to see every film that interests you. Fortunately they appear on TV about a year after release, so all is not lost. But I digress, here’s a brief summary before I tell you my thoughts (summary haters please talk to those nice FBI men while I write the next paragraph, thank you).

This film, it claims, is based on a true story. Mark Whitacre works for a company called ADM developing lysine, a by-product of corn. He has worked himself into upper management and is now in a position to see how things really work. He doesn’t like what he sees and goes to the FBI making allegations of price fixing. The FBI look into his allegations but need more proof and it is here that Whitacre takes a bit of a turn. He now seems reluctant to continue and his FBI contact, Brian Shepard, has to persuade him to do the right thing. Little does he realise he’s just at the beginning of a long journey with many unexpected twists and turns. I won’t say any more for fear of giving away too much.

This is a very well made film, with all the panache you’d expect from Steven Soderbergh. Great attention to detail throughout, the story begins in the early 1990’s and you really feel they’ve made an effort to get the feel and look of the period. Great performances all round, particularly from Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre and Scott Bakula as Brian Shepard. Honourable mentions must also go to Joel McHale as FBI Special Agent Bob Herndon and Melanie Lynskey as Ginger Whitacre.

Over all, it’s a pretty good film that doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. I found the plot a little too complicated and it all seems a bit too ludicrous to have been based on fact, although I’d love to be proved wrong on that! More could have been made of Mark’s mental state which would have made the plot make a bit more sense. Not a bad film for all that, it has its problems, but still, recommended.

My score: 6.6/10

IMDb Page:
Official Site:

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