Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

November 6, 2009

Separating fact from fiction

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 5:05 am

November 06, 2009

Cast: Matt Damon, Lucas McHugh Carroll, Eddie Jemison

Director: Steven Soderbergh

The Informant, directed by Steven Soderbergh, is based on the true story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in US history. But those expecting The Insider Part 2 might be a little taken aback by the film’s brazenly comic tone.

Matt Damon put on 30 pounds and a moustache to play Mark Whitacre, a top exec at an agricultural conglomerate that’s engaging in a multinational price-fixing scam. Set in the early 80s, the film tracks Whitacre as he volunteers to spill the beans about his company’s malpractices to the FBI, and even agrees to help them with their investigation by becoming a sort of secret agent himself, wearing a wire and conducting meetings in conference rooms rigged with hidden cameras. Even as the feds crack the case, they’re shocked to discover that Whitacre himself has embezzled over $9 million from corporate coffers.

A dark comedy that breezily unfolds itself to reveal Whitacre’s outrageous lies, The Informant is that rare gem of a movie that surprises you at every turn. The film’s biggest strength is Matt Damon’s comic tour de force as the slippery fish that’s hard to figure out – is he a noble man driven by a good conscience, a pathological liar, a wannabe secret agent, or a mentally sick person? The answer’s not so easy to arrive at. It is to the actor’s credit that he never loses sight of the man behind the lies, and plays Whitacre as a mysteriously odd fellow.

Packed with appropriately deadpan performances from a superb ensemble cast, The Informant is in the end, a sardonic comedy about an unsympathetic hero.

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for The Informant. Soderbergh takes a serious story about unforgivable crimes and serves it up in a style that can only be described as hilarious. Watch it, because films like this are hard to find.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress