Thursday, 3 December 2009
FILM REVIEW: THE INFORMANT!
He has spectacles and he beefed up for the role, but there the similarities between Matt Damon and Russell Crowe's whistleblower characters, and their respective films, ends.
In Michael Mann's The Insider (1999), Crowe's character wanted to expose the evils of the tobacco industry. In Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!, Damon's Mark Whitaker, an executive with a corporation involved in agribusiness, wants to expose a pricefixing scam - or does he?
One of the delights of Soderbergh's film is that he never lets you entirely in on what's happening, preferring to reveal tidbits with every revelation that Whitaker makes to the FBI agents who have come to investigate his claims.
Another delight, and a revelation, is just how capable Matt Damon is with comedy. Granted most of his best lines occur in his stream-of-consciousness internal monologues, which generally have little to do with the onscreen action, but he renders a character who, however delusional, is completely believable.
After Che Parts 1 ans 2, and The Girlfriend Experience, Soderbergh must have felt like having some fun. And he does with The Informant! although at almost two hours, the continuous twists and turns become a little tiresome. That said, one has to appreciate his efforts to keep his films, and cinema generally, interesting.
Same goes for Damon, who could so easily coast on his all-American good looks and Jason Bourne heroics. The Informant! provides a means for challenging himself and could pay off big time with an Oscar nomination.