Comments on watching and making films.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Informant!

I'll go see anything by Steven Soderbergh. The first film I remember seeing of his was Traffic, and ever since then, I have gobbled up everything of his that I came into contact with. He is one of our best living and working filmmakers, and one lucky guy, in that he can pretty much write his own ticket (well, except for Moneyball, which was recently dropped by the studio Soderbergh was going to be making it for). I love everything from his mainstream stuff, like the Ocean's trilogy and Out of Sight, to his more "experimental" side with films like Kafka and Schizopolis. Yeah, I'll go see anything by Steven Soderbergh, but that doesn't mean I will worship everything he does. I didn't care for the first in his series of HD films for HDNet, Bubble. The Good German was okay, but nothing to write home about, and, ultimately, The Informant! falls into the same category.

The film stars Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, a real life higher up at major food company in Illinois, who tries to sell his company down the creek by going to the FBI with a Lysine price fixing scam. But when Whitacre doesn't see things going the way he wants them too, he tries to lie himself out of the situation he's caused, which puts the FBI in a curious predicament.

The Informant! is based on a true story, and Mark Whitacre is a very real person. Soderbergh, though, being the playful personality he is, took some liberties in making Whitacre look like an even bigger doofus than he probably is in real life. Using little touches like a constant inner monologue, and Damon playing his best bafoon, Soderbergh takes what would, generally, be a rather uninteresting tale of corporate espionage, and makes it into an enjoyable and funny story about a man who just doesn't get it. Unfortunately, the film felt like it was a bit of a throw away, much like The Good German. It was definitely watchable, and enjoyable, but I'm not sure it's the kind of movie I would want to watch again. Soderbergh tries a lot of different things, though, and I'm glad this film exists, even though I probably wouldn't buy it on DVD.

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