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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Damon dazzles in 'The Informant'

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Matt Damon stars as Mark Whitacre in Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant" released Tuesday from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment.
(Courtesy of Warner Brothers Home Entertainment)
I didn't catch it in theaters, but I must say after catching it on DVD, "The Informant" starring Matt Damon is one perplexing flick. It's herky-jerky, sometimes difficult to stay with, takes a while to get going, but in the end I found myself becoming a fan.

"The Informant" is powered by a wonderful performance from Damon. He portrays Mark Whitacre, a chemist who becomes an executive at Archer Daniel Midland, a company where corn is king. For the span of three years in the mid-'90s, Whitacre becomes an informant for the FBI after accusing ADM of price fixing.

The story itself is based on a true case that resulted in the biggest price-fixing bust in history, where more than $1 billion in fines handed down. But all of that takes a backseat to the eccentricities of Whitacre and his scam to climb the ladder to the top of ADM.

An aspect of the film that I loved was the fact the Damon narrates the thoughts of Whitacre and they don't necessarily deal directly with what is happening at the moment. It gives the audience some nice insight into Whitacre's psyche.

The biggest fault with the film is the fact that is takes a long time to get going. For the first half, it seems to be biding its time, but once it gets going, the pieces fall into place and it's almost enough to make up for a sluggish start.

When everything shakes out and we finally learn what Whitacre hopes to achieve by becoming an informant, it's simply unimaginable. He tells his wife that with all the corrupt bigwigs gone and out of the way, he might be able to become ADM's CEO. Delusions of grandeur.

It you're looking for extra goodies on the DVD, you're really out of luck. All that's featured is a few deleted scenes and that's it. A little disappointing, but not surprising.

Final Cut: 'The Informant' isn't for everyone, but for lovers of quirky flicks that play like a Coen Brothers dismissed idea, this movie is perfect. Director Steven Soderbergh struggled where the Coens would have excelled, but Damon salvages the film in the end. It has many aspects working for it, and if you can survive the first half, the payoff is well worth it.

3.5 out of 5 stars

The Informant

Starring: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Mike O'Malley, Andrew Daly

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Scott Burns (Screenplay), Kurt Eichenwald (Novel)

MPAA Rating: R for language

Runtime: 1hr. 48 min.

Available from Warner Bros Home Entertainment

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