The Informant!

It may come across like a self-satisfied madcap bauble, but that titular exclamation mark is the key that unlocks the myriad subtextual delights of Soderbergh’s timely latest, a flippant white-collar corporate caper that harks back to his delicious 1996 farce, ‘Schizopolis’. On one level it denotes the lack of delicacy with which Matt Damon’s prodigiously gifted agribusiness exec, Marc Whitacre, goes about blowing the whistle on his own company for being involved in a global price-fixing swindle.

Yet it also suggests a thematic sleight of hand that asks us to be aware that the film’s motivations may not be as cut-and-dried as they first appear. This ambiguity of intention is largely (and successfully) transmitted via Damon’s supremely nuanced central performance (possibly a career best), which manages to plumb the depths of narcissism, idiocy and, eventually, deep-seated psychosis, while miraculously managing to keep us on side. The screwy semantics of his insistently upbeat internal monologues constantly interrupt the bloated technical jargon and subtly hint at the denouement to which Whitacre’s foolhardy endeavour is leading.

The director himself continuously chips in from the sidelines,  with screwball devices such as oversized title cards written in purple bubble text, a camera that playfully dances in and out of the innumerable sterile business headquarters and hotels and Marvin Hamlisch’s chirpy, big-band soundtrack. Soderbergh and writer Scott Z Burns have based the film largely on the muckraking thriller by New York Times journalist Kurt Eichenwald, but they are less interested in the particulars of nefarious corporate dealings than in creating a credible psychological portrait of a man driven by… who knows what?

Release details

Release date: Friday November 20 2009
Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Screenwriter: Scott Z Burns
Cast: Scott Bakula
Thomas F Wilson
Melanie Lynskey
Matt Damon

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Ed

I don't understand. I thought this was a brilliant film - genuinely don't get how you guys didn't like it. I agree with the reviewer - Matt Damon's career best film (and I speak as a massive fan of Bourne), he is spot on, and as the film unfolds he gets better and better. I'd highly recommend it.

Alyshia

The film was okay... A total waste of money though. the only bit that made me laugh is when the only other viewer in my screen walked out. This film is rather dull and has too many long winded scenes. If you liked The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button however then you may be abe to stick this film out till the end... just.