Thursday, October 1, 2009
NOT WHAT YOU'D EXPECT.
THE INFORMANT (B-)
The Informant is a dark comedy that was highly praised by critics, well received at the box office, and a film that confused me. The whole movie builds on a witty character, a light hearted mood, and an uncomplicated plot. But fast forward to the ending and all these built up elements completely missed the conclusion of this project, not to mention there is no real apex to the constructed plot. I understand the screenplay is based on a book and actual events, I just felt some aspects of the production could have been better executed.
One particular thing that bothered me about The Informant was the music chosen for this film. In light of the way the film ended and the overall serious theme, the peculiar Seinfeld-like music was completely out of place. I think the tone needed to be established as a little more serious.
Matt Damon stars as Mark Whitacre, a intelligent scientist who works for an agriculture conglomerate. He stumbles across his companies illegal price fixing activities with their competition, and highly illegal activity. He informs the FBI and then becomes their "man on the inside" to help bring an end to this practice. The plot unfolds as Mark's quirky behavior gets him into dilemmas with his company, the FBI, and his family.
Steven Soderbergh (Oceans 11, 12, 13) and his use of visual images was complimentary to the story. I liked the shots he used to enhance the story telling or add depth to the character Mark. Mark has a tendency in the film to let his mind wander when people are in conversation with him, and Soderbergh uses close ups on character's faces to portray their emotions. It is especially funny to see people talking to Mark as he stares back blankly with the audio of his actual thoughts resonating in the theater. My favorite thought from Mark has to do with polar bears and their noses.
The screenplay written by Scott Z. Burns was so funny the beginning half of the movie. I laughed so hard at Mark's anecdotes about life or little random pieces of interesting information. The film featured a wide variety of different characters but the only one the script focuses on is Mark. I also thought the movie dragged along towards the middle act and the ending. I just kept waiting for it to pick up some steam, but the film just moved at a mellow pace all 108 minutes.
Matt Damon definitely has not played a role like this one, though he was close in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Though he has played much more challenging roles before, this off beat and unstable character with his many mental issues must have been difficult to portray. I thought Damon did a good job, but his character was not captivating to watch. This can be difficult when he is the main and only focus in this story.
Tony Hale who many of you may know from his role on Arrested Development as Buster. His character in this movie is a far cry from the shy and strange Buster.
Overall, I enjoyed most of The Informant, but was just disappointed in the way it ended. After the credits flashed I honestly sat there and thought, "this is it?" There is an underlying theme that presents itself at the end, but does that make it worth watching the whole movie? I understand the story was already told in a book, but the ending does not climax what so ever leaving viewers wondering what the point to watching this story was. Sure there are answers to that question, but they are definitely not definitive.
I liked the comedy in the movie, but it was turned off in the last act. Some will love this movie, some will leave like me scratching their head, and I can see some hating it. If you are going to get out and see a movie, there are better films to see. But I recommend you consider this one.
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