The Informer (3 stars)

The Informer

Lean, occasionally intense crime drama starring Joel Kinnaman and Rosamund Pike

Adapted from the novel Three Seconds by Swedish crime writers Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström, The Informer transposes the action to the east coast of America for a lean and occasionally intense drama. Swedish star Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad) plays Pete Koslow, a former Special Forces soldier who, when we meet him, has already been in prison for manslaughter following a bar fight, where he was protecting his wife Sofia (Ana de Armas).

Released early after cutting a deal with the FBI to infiltrate a gang of Polish drug dealers, and take down a powerful kingpin known as The General, Koslow is being kept under the watchful eye of his handlers (Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen). But after the death of an undercover NYPD officer during the operation, Koslow is forced to take the wrap, going back to prison where The General wants him to run his narcotics operation.

Directed by Andrea Di Stefano, whose 2014 debut Escobar: Paradise Lost dealt with true crime on a grand scale, The Informer has a similarly authentic feel to it. It's satisfyingly gritty in its depiction of overcrowded prisons and systemic corruption, with Kinnaman's character a pawn in a very sordid game of chess. His motivation to survive? To protect his wife and daughter, who are left hopelessly exposed when he's forced to return to prison.

It all leads to a tense finale, with London to Brighton star Sam Spruell making a highly effective appearance as a prison guard who becomes instrumental in Koslow's survival strategy. While Owen and Pike are left short-changed by roles almost as generic as the film's title, the tattooed Kinnaman brings urgency to his portrayal of a desperate man. The beats aren't exactly original, but The Informer has a muscular energy and, when it strikes, it's surprisingly effective.

General release from Fri 30 Aug.

The Informer

  • 3 stars
  • 2019
  • UK
  • Directed by: Andrea Di Stefano
  • Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Ana de Armas

Pete (Kinnaman) is a former Special Forces who’s served time in prison for manslaughter; as part of an FBI sting on drug dealers, he’s forced to go back to prison.