in Review


The Informant!

Steven Soderbergh is one of the most interesting directors around today because of his “one for me, one for them” approach, where he rotates between making a art house film and a more mainstream movie. Kind of like an even more extreme Gus Van Sant. Well he already delivered The Girlfriend Experience this year, so Soderbergh had to come back with a more by-the-numbers piece. That’s The Informant.

The Informant is the story of Mark Whitacre, a whistleblower who exposes a price-fixing scandal at ADM. Of course not everything is as it seems, and as the FBI works with Whitacre, things get stranger and stranger.

I guess the big deal going into this movie is Matt Damon putting on some weight for the role. That’s great, and he turns in the best performance in the movie, but I think it also exposes the most glaring problem I have with the movie. It’s a comedy. Not a dark comedy, a pretty straight forward one. Whitacre is a disturbed man, and in the hands of a different team this could have been a dark masterpiece. Instead, it’s just kind of boring.

The rest of the cast is tolerable, no one really excels. Joel McHale was better in the first episode of Community than he is here, and, well, at least Scott Bakula tried. Melanie Lynskey’s pretty good as Mrs. Whitacre.

Ultimately, this is an acceptable movie. You might like it. You probably won’t hate it. But as a straight-up comedy, it’s more occasional chuckle than laugh-out-loud.

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