The Informant! (2009)

Whoever thought you could be getting so ripped off for just buying a can of corn! Damn ADM!

While gathering evidence against his institutional employer to help the FBI build a price-fixing conspiracy case, affable agribusiness executive Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) begins to piece together a fantasy world of his own.

So this film is really hard to advertise at all. I mean it’s part dark comedy, part satire, part thriller, and sometimes part drama, but it all works out OK.

The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh and he does a fine job of bringing all this different material together. The film doesn’t work as a broad comedy, but it’s funny in a more subtle and satirical way that actually works. You can tell that this film is aiming for laughs behind all this serious lying, and illegal corporate dealings, but the film somehow finds a way to bring comedy in between all this.

My only problem with this is that it is too long for the material that it’s given and some viewers actually may find themselves bored, as I did. The film is about 108 minutes long, and the big pay-off that were all waiting for is about 88 minutes too late for this material. Also, I saw that this film tried to go somewhere with this story, and have us root behind this guy, but after all this lying and making-up of stories, it was kind of hard to actually back this guy up. I also never saw the inspiration behind all this guy’s lying, and in the end the film doesn’t really tell us either.

Also, what the hell was up with that score?? I liked how it reminded me of an old 1950’s crime show, but then at the same time I felt like they were placing it in there to be wacky, and to bring laughs out of the cast. This just showed that Soderbergh didn’t really have much fun material to begin with, so they just relied on a goofy score.

This whole film really belongs to Matt Damon as the ridiculous Mark Whitacre. He is the opposite of the slick, and sneaky FBI undercover informant, he’s a bumbling, nut job that gets stuck in series of unfortunate events, however Damon has you believe him throughout the whole film. He really inhabits this guy and has you believe him as this total chump, and speaks more about Damon’s skills as an actor because it shows that he can carry any film, regardless of material. You also have all these comedians such as Joel McHale, Scott Bakula, Melanie Lynskey, and hell you even got Biff from Back to the Future here, but the problem is that their not really doing anything funny. It was nice to see all these familiar faces, but there was too much of them and it started to get a little distracting, and seem like an episode of I Love The 90’s.

Consensus: Certain elements of The Informant! are entertaining, including Damon’s hilarious performance, but the slow pace, and the mishandled use of the story, feels like it should have been so much better than what it really was.




  1. My wife wanted to watch Ocean’s Eleven last night, so I saw it again for the nth time. It ends with the eleven (minus Clooney) leaning on a fence as the Bellagio fountains spray in front of them. The camera moves from face to face and when it gets to Damon at the end of the line, he’s chewing gum with this Boston Southie Damon look on his face – the real Damon? Not the guy in Ocean’s Eleven up until then, for sure. The guy is right there in my top actors list.

    • He really is one of the better actors out there working today, and takes all of his performances so seriously. Which actually ends up always working.

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