Movie Review: The Informant! (Matt Damon, Scott Backula, Melanie Lynskey) 2009

Posted: December 10, 2012 in Comedy


Mark Whitacre (Damon) is a biologist and one of the youngest presidents in the history of Archer Daniels Midland, a multibillion dollar agro-business.  Whitaker is working on a lysine project, which ADM put on soft drinks, cattle feed.and detergent Mark is convinced that his lysine is being sabotaged by a mole within the company.  The FBI is brought in and Mark teams up with agents Brian Sheppard (Bakula) and Robert Herndon (Joel Mc Hale) to wear a mike and go undercover to expose international price fixing of lysine between ADM and companies in Japan and Korea.  But what is the secret that the FBI’s new hotshot informant, is hiding?  And will that information threaten not only the price fixing investigation but Mark Whitacre’s credibility as a friendly witness for the government?  Does his ever loyal wife Ginger (Lynskey) stay by his side during this ordeal?

This movie is a scathing satire of both the corporate world and its rampant malfeasance and the incompetence of one of the highest government agencies in the US.  Matt Damon gives an incredible performance as the clearly delusional Whitacre, who sees himself not only as a white knight whistleblower but a super-spy 0014 as he calls himself. Whitacre is seemingly oblivious to his own wrongdoing, and is truly convinced that he can rise to CEO of ADM after the dust settles Damon has these asides, this internal monologue of random fun facts throughout the movie, that makes the movie not only fun to watch but shows a man n Whitacre with a tenuous grasp on reality. Backula is funny and sympathetic as agent Brian Sheppard, the viewer wants him to succeed even as he sees his star witness and career go up in flames.  Joel McHale adds some humor, and Melanie Lynskey is sweetly defiant as Ginger.  Put it all together and it is a great mix of black comedy and thought provoking social commentary.  The only glaring deficiency here was the music by veteran Marvin Hamlisch, it was a curious mix of The Sting and circus music and it became a distraction at times from an otherwise fine movie.

The Informant I Spy with my little eye…


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