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The Informant!

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Format: CD-ROM
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: MOVIE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0031OCY2E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,840 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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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 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b4daac8) out of 5 stars 169 reviews
53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac6b660) out of 5 stars Beautiful Mind + Insider + Duck Soup = Informant!...So there! Sept. 19 2009
By Shopper - Published on
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.
27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac6b6b4) out of 5 stars A dark comedy about human foibles...and corn. Feb. 17 2010
By DanD - Published on
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
HASH(0x9ac6baec) out of 5 stars A bizarre character study Jan. 14 2015
By Wag The Fox - Published on
Format: DVD
This movie may be one of the most bizarre character studies I've seen in a while. And I think what makes it stand out for me is how Steven Soderbergh set out to present Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon). The man, an executive/bio-chemist and inevitable whistleblower, is displayed before the audience as a hapless buffoon who manages to delay his own professional demise within his company, ADM, by constructing a house of cards propped up by one astonishing deceit after another.

When ADM, which is complicit in an international price-fixing scheme, garners the attention of the FBI over an extortion scheme, Whitacre begins to see himself as a possible patsy for ADM's illegal endeavors and becomes an informant for the FBI against ADM. But while he's feeding FBI agents, Brian Shepherd (Scott Bakula) and Bob Herndon (Joel McHale), with wire-tapped meetings among the playmakers in the price-fixing, he's also withholding information from them pertaining to his own blithely ignorant and misguided attempts to divert attention from him, as well as his own illegal activity of a different nature.

And the craziest bit is that this is somehow inspired by true events, Mark Whitacre is a satirized characterization of a real person. Oh dear lord.

I think what saves this movie from drowning in its own drool is that it's played for laughs, rather than treat it like a suspenseful corporate espionage film. Matt Damon does a downright amazing job of making this guy seem real and relatable, while simultaneously showing the comically absurd antics and behavior of a white-collar criminal.

Another saving grace is the high caliber casting choices. Matt Damon is the comic relief fixture of the film, surrounded by straight men off which to bounce his inanity. The arguable brilliance of the casting choices comes from having so many comic actors and comedians cast as those straight men, avoiding any kind of hammy portrayals and giving entirely sincere performances. Joel McHale, Tom Papa, Patton Oswalt, Andrew Daly, Ann Cusack, Tony Hale, and even Tom and Dick Smothers--yes, the Smothers Brothers are in this movie--are cast as the characters who basically look at Matt Damon's character with gaping-mawed amazement at the biosphere of bulls*** he's created.

The movie taps into that kind of cringe-worthy style of comedy seen in "The Office", but given in a charming cinematic feel. And the score through the movie is just the cherry on top, with its peppy "model employee" jingles at one point to fades into "James Bond" or "Laugh In" theme music the next.

Matt Damon may have gotten some measure of praise for his role in Invictus, but The Informant should have been the movie to earn him the real praise.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac6beac) out of 5 stars The Informant is Very Informative Sept. 28 2011
By Debbie S. Glade - Published on
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ac6bf90) out of 5 stars Spare us Matt Damon's George Clooney impressions Jan. 2 2011
By Hui Shen ben Israel - Published on
Format: DVD
THE INFORMANT! (2008-2009) was a bit of a thrill for me because it co-starred my favorite Missourian, Scott Bakula as FBI Special Agent Brian Shepard, and because it was filmed in Dekalb, Illinois - not far afield from my own home. Despite the somewhat odious Matt Damon in the starring role, I had to see this movie.

It did not disappoint. Weirdo Mark Whitacre (Damon in his best Clooney rip-off despite the 30 LBS. he added to his poor self) is a shmuck who works for an agricultural/farming corporation of which subject I know so little, he might as well have been in a panty hose factory. He contacts the FBI (poor Bakula being shunted into what is basically a walk-on role) - he wants them to investigate price-fixing (on farmers' chemicals I guess), insider trading and so forth.

He wears a wire, years pass (the time span is 1992 to 2002), and the FBI has its case. Or does it? Whitacre turns out to be the conman of the millennium, telling lie after lie until even the viewer gets a migraine. Whitacre, it turns out, has masterminded everything, from massive embezzlement (it's funny how the amount keeps going up every time it's mentioned) to the very price-fixing and insider trading that are being investigated. He has masterminded the manipulation of the corporation he works for AND the poor FBI. It takes a dozen lawyers to ferret him out in the end.

If this was a true story, God help us all!

Watching Bakula's screen time was a joy. He is wonderful in roles like these, and I am glad to see he's as busy as a beaver. When his Agent Shepard (a play on the "good shepherd", get it?) starts to have a meltdown after he learns of Whitacre's treachery, it is priceless. Shepard had been Whitacre's staunchest supporter. Whitacre ultimately repays Shepard by claiming Shepard hit him with an attaché case while torturing him.

This is the type of slick black comedy that would have played 100% better with someone like William H. Macy or yes, even George Clooney, at the helm. Damon holds his own, but as I said, I don't like him enough to trust his performance at all. Perhaps that is why he was given this role. In any case, Damon is the real reason this thing sort of belly-flopped at the box office ... but it deserves a sort of cult following.

Clancy Brown is delightful as corporate suit bad guy Aubrey Daniel - and it reminds me of his terrific role in another Illinois-set film, the HBO film NORMAL (2003, as Case-IH foreman Frank), which got Tom Wilkinson eternal fame in America. Aside from Bakula and Clancy, no other players here grabbed my attention, but that is a plus with this type of movie.

The laughs are never-ending, and so is the tension - it is a real suspense film, and with all the humor I would think Hitchcock might have loved a project like this. Furthermore, it is a film that makes us ask, What constitutes a little white lie as opposed to a con artist's life? How much lying is too much? How much can one human being lie in a few years' time? - the answers are all here.

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