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The Informant!

DVD

Price: CDN$ 3.25
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Damon/Bakula/Mchale/Lynskey ~ Informant!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  127 reviews
51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Mind + Insider + Duck Soup = Informant!...So there! Sept. 19 2009
By Shopper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
In 1992 Mark Whitacre, the President of Bio-Product division of ADM (powerful Fortune 500 company), became the highest ranking executive EVER to turn whistle blower. For three years he helped the FBI gather evidence of a multinational conspiracy to control the price of lysine. As a result, US government collected hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from ADM and foreign corporations, followed by prison sentences for three executives. These are events in real life as well as the movie. However, according to the opening credits, the film is not intended as a documentary and does depart from real life facts... The final, cheeky line of the prologue: "So there!", gives us a hint that, though the topic and the consequences suffered by many in this story are somber, what we are about to see is meant to amuse and entertain, as well as educate...

As promised, the chuckles do come often, but their source is not your typical one liners. Matt Damon is Whitacre, an inspired choice for the role. His plump, mustachioed and toupeed character comes across so harmless and ordinary you never question why his actions go undetected; even as his concealed recording equipment loudly malfunctions during a covert multinational executive meeting! You laugh at the bewilderment of FBI agents and the DA's office as they are led by the nose by Whitacre's increasingly outlandish antics. One could say "The Informant!" has the educational quality of an Aesop's fable: blinded by their desire to swallow a tasty morsel (ADM), the agents cross their fingers and fail to run even the most basic checks on their informant; checks that would immediately reveal inconsistencies in his stories (such as the true nature of his parentage, for example).

The film is not perfect. Based on the way it was being advertised, I expected something in the same category as "The Pink Panther". In reality, one would not be wrong to describe it as a combination of "A Beautiful Mind", "The Insider", and "The Duck Soup" (Marx Brothers). Sadly, "The Informant!" never quite becomes as touching, thrilling and funny as those films were, respectively. The makers allow it to drag on a bit in the second half as Whitacre's behaviour becomes absurd. The logical explanation for it all arrives only after our initial keen interest has already begun to dissipate. I also hear some grumblings about the film's muted lighting. Since most of the action takes place in offices and hotels, I believe the lighting is true to reality. Anyone who has spent at least one work day in a cubicle, understands how oppressive that atmosphere can be. Despite these possible faults, Whitacre's story and Damon's performance make "The Informant!" worthy of at least one theater trip. Depending on your personal approach, you will see a funny thriller or... a thrilling comedy. Either way, expect to be entertained!

PS: BRAVO! to the filmmakers for sticking to a relatively modest budget ($21 mil)! I am sick of paying to see worthless films with budgets that could bankrupt the economy of a small country.
24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A dark comedy about human foibles...and corn. Feb. 17 2010
By DanD - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Having grown up just a few miles from where the events of THE INFORMANT! took place (though I was just a kid at the time), I may be rather partial to the film; after all, Matt Damon and much of the supporting cast has the personality down pat, with a few aside-jokes that definitely capture the atmosphere of East-Central Illinois. But you don't have to be from here to appreciate the film's humor; you just have to be patient.

Why? Because THE INFORMANT is a slow burner. It's the story of Mark Whitacre, who decides to blow the lid on some illegal doings at the corn-processing plant where he works. Whitacre, however, is anything but the ideal witness--but it takes about two-thirds of the movie to find that out. Kudus to Joel McHale and Scott Bakula as the FBI agents in charge of Whitacre's case, and Soderbergh for actually making a movie of this; and a tip-of-the-hat to Matt Damon, who turns in a nuanced performance. But the character doesn't really build until the third act, which is the when the movie turns from humor to poignancy, and we realize the real tale here.

The thing is, it's just hard to forgive THE INFORMANT its slow build-up. Real hard. It's worth the effort; a lot of the humor is subtle, and the film progressively gets darker, until you realize this isn't a feel-good comedy after all. But it takes so long getting there, a large part of the audience is bound to stop caring. Thus, THE INFORMANT! is for patient fans of comedy (of which there are painfully few today). If nothing else, see it for Damon's spot-on performance; he and Bakula especially are taking this film and running with it, for better or worse (mainly better).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP June 24 2012
By The Movie Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I loved the Marvin Hamlisch throw back music which greatly enhanced the story. Matt Damon is a biochemical engineer for Archer Daniels Midland. He is in charge of lysine production, which is having problems. He claims the problem is a virus that a Japanese mole has introduced to the product. The FBI is called in. Matt informs the FBI of another evil that is on going...international lysine price fixing! Matt comes across as a squeaky clean guy who only wants to help make things right. He believes by informing on his company, the board of directors will reward him for doing right, by making him CEO. If you don't see the humor in that, you most likely won't enjoy the film.

The FBI has Matt go undercover in what is the nerdiest undercover man to wear a wire. I had to laugh at Matt's character as he played 0014 spy. When things start to hit the fan, it gets weird and twisted.

This reminded me of an old 60's style comedy with Damon being super intelligent and naive. I would have enjoyed the film even if it wasn't based on a true story. Great characters.

PARENTAL GUIDE: F-bomb, no sex or nudity.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP Jan. 15 2012
By The Movie Guy - Published on Amazon.com
I loved the Marvin Hamlisch throw back music which greatly enhanced the story. Matt Damon is a biochemical engineer for Archer Daniels Midland. He is in charge of lysine production, which is having problems. He claims the problem is a virus that a Japanese mole has introduced to the product. The FBI is called in. Matt informs the FBI of another evil that is on going...international lysine price fixing! Matt comes across as a squeaky clean guy who only wants to help make things right. He believes by informing on his company the board of directors will reward him for doing right by making him CEO. If you don't see the humor in that, you most likely won't enjoy the film.

The FBI has Matt go undercover in what is the nerdiest undercover man to wear a wire. I had to laugh at Matt's character as he played 0014 spy. When things start to hit the fan, it gets weird and twisted.

This reminded me of an old 60's style comedy with Damon being super intelligent and naive. I would have enjoyed the film even if it wasn't based on a true story. Great characters.

F-bomb, no sex or nudity.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Informant is Very Informative Sept. 28 2011
By Debbie S. Glade - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
My daughter and I went to see The Informant, staring Matt Damon. We loved it. It was very entertaining. I have to say that we got a lot more out of it because we listened to the episode on NPR's This American Life about Mark Whitacre, the real-life character upon which this movie was based. The movie is not as detailed as the story, for obvious reasons.

The Informant's Executive Producer is George Clooney. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, The movie version of this true story manages to put a somewhat humorous spin on a very serious subject - corporate corruption. Matt Damon does such a great job acting here, that you never really think of the character as Damon acting. He even gained a bunch of weight to get a middle aged spread for the role, a common thing for actors to do these days. The rest of the cast was excellent as well, including Scott Bakula and even the Smothers Brothers!

Imagine a corporate executive (Whitacre) who goes to the FBI (because his wife says she will if he doesn't) to turn in his colleagues at Archer Daniels Midland Company for price fixing. Whitacre becomes an informant for several years working magic for the FBI, completely fooling those who work in his company as well as business associates from around the world. But of course there's a twist. Whitacre is not being completely honest with the FBI, his wife or himself. Despite all this he is a brilliant and totally likeable guy.

You'll walk away from this movie saying to yourself, "OMG, this is a true story, and Mark Whitacre is a real person, a sociopath who has no trouble lying to the FBI!" You'll also be thinking about how much we don't know about the companies America relies upon for food and other essentials and just how corrupt corporations can be. Oh yeah, and you'll be pondering just how it is that a man's wife can bear to stand by him through a lifetime of lying and cheating.

So either read the book or listen to the NPR This American Life episode about it, and then go and see the movie. It will make you think a lot about corporate America, the stocks you buy and your hard-working corporate executive friends. Do you really know who they are?

FYI - Children under 14 will likely not be too interested in this movie, unless of course they are fascinated by corruption or American business.

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