The Informant! (2 stars)

The Informant

(15) 108min

Sometimes filmmaker Steven Soderbergh conceptual enquiries get the better of him. He shot The Good German using technology only available to filmmakers during World War 2 and now he’s concentrated so hard on making The Informant! look and feel like a 70s caper flick that he ignores essentials – like plot and character.

Matt Damon has piled on the pounds and put on a wig to play Mark Whitacre, a man whose attempt to blow the lid on a price fixing cartel is undone by the fact that he has had his hands in the coffers. The more he tries to cover his own tracks the deeper into the dung he sinks. Soderbergh, who made Erin Brockovich, obviously likes these real life battles between individuals and corporations, but as with that other Steven – Spielberg’s – similar Catch Me If You Can, the filmmaker struggles to turn the stranger-than-fiction biopic into a cohesive story. The zany plot is at times so convoluted it’s impenetrable, support characters are not given enough on-screen time and it all feels like the work of someone trying to show off rather than entertain.

Also there really is no excuse for Marvin Hamlisch’s grating television ditty cute score. A case of style winning over content with regrettable results.

General release from Fri 20 Nov.

The Informant! trailer

The Informant!

  • 2 stars
  • 2009
  • US
  • 1h 48min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
  • Written by: Scott Z Burns
  • Cast: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey, Tom Papa

Soderbergh comes across as something of a conceptual show-off with this stranger-than-fiction biopic about a whistle-blower who's more than a little implicated in the scandal he tries to uncover. Intent on capturing the look and feel of a 1970s caper flick (and he succeeds), the director has sadly managed to forget…

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