Rated RS; Directed by Steven Soderbergh; Starring Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Melanie Lynskey, Joel McHale, Tony Hale
Imagine the usual corporate thriller. The whistleblowing hero is leading-man handsome as he fights an evil corporate conspiracy. The movie would be backed by a spare and sinister soundtrack. Forget all of that when you go in to The Informant! The hero is a pudgy, unlikely hero, and yes, the corporate conspiracy exists, but the action occurs to a comical soundtrack by Marvin Hamlisch. This is not your normal corporate whistleblower tale. Lucky for us — we get a fun look at some improbable shenanigans.
Give credit to Matt Damon. He gained weight to play the lead character of Mark Whitacre, a family man who finds the need to expose the price-fixing goings on at Archers Daniel Midland, the large agricultural corporation. When this hapless executive begins working with the FBI, the FBI gets more than they bargained for.
Director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Erin Brockovich) has fun with this true story. He takes Scott Burns’ screenplay and gives us something humorous and quirky. He casts the movie with various comic actors who play it seriously to great effect (who would ever expect the Smothers Brothers to show up in your usual corporate thriller?). Matt Damon is the one who makes this movie special. Damon is far from his Jason Bourne role. His vapid voiceovers and gee whiz attitude make Whitacre an entertaining character. He’s backed up by a solid Scott Bakula as the FBI agent who needs Mark to nail the corporate wrongdoers. The rest of the cast perform beautifully.
Worth seeing, The Informant! isn’t perfect, but it is entertaining. Best of all, Matt Damon offers us a wonderful mixed-up character.