Friday, September 18, 2009

The Informant

Matt Damon Amazing

"The Informant" a Baffler

"The Informant" is one big fakeout of a movie.
Matt Damon is the title character, a geeky, seemingly bumbling biochemist named Marc Whitaker.
Damon piled on 30 pounds, donned a lousy toupee, grew a wispy moustache and put on science teacher glasses to play Marc, the youngest executive at the multi-national, Indiana-based, Archer Daniels Midland agribusiness.
It's October of 1992 and Marc is one of the biggest hotshots in Decatur, Illinois. He lives in a tidy McMansion with his loving wife Ginger (Melanie Lynsky). He drives a Porsche and has seven other cars.
Why Marc would want to put the finger on his fellow executives for fixing the price of lysine, a byproduct of corn, is a puzzle. Marc doesn't quite feel a part of the gang, and as a scientist he feels he should be morally correct.
So when FBI agent Brian Shephard is sent to tap his phone, he spills the beans and agrees to wear a wire.
Marc wears the wire for three years all over the world: Tokyo, London, Mexico, and he collects solid proof of an international conspiracy.
Job well done, Marc? Not quite. Marc, who speaks to us in a mumbling stream-of-consciousness, has not been quite straight with us, his co-workers, the FBI or even himself.
In short Marc is mentally ill- bi-polar to be more precise- and his delusions have turned him into a worse criminal than those he betrayed.
Director Steven Soderbergh has a keen sense of irony, and working from a truth-based novel by Kurt Eichenwald, Marc is nothing if not ironic. What starts out as an indictment of arrogant corporate American anti-consumerism turns into the yarn of a pathetic, self-deluded schmuck, whose downfall is played comically to a goofy musical soundtrack by Marvin Hamlisch.
"The Informant" is interesting largely because of Damon's amzing performance. You can't like Marc Whitacre, but you can admire the actor who got so deep into his body and his mind.

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