THE INFORMANT! Movie Review
Yesterday, I had an opportunity to watch the new Matt Damon movie The Informant and I want to share my review of the movie.
The Informant is a true story of one highest ranking corporate whistleblower in US history, Mark Whitacre (played by Matt Damon) who out of the blue reached out to the FBI to reveal one of the biggest price fixing scandal that has ever faced the country.
The scandal concerns the biggest manufacturers of the key ingredients in food who are colluding to decide the price of their products therefore insuring fat profits for themselves. However what starts out as a story of David trying to bring down a Goliath quickly turns into a story of a David trying to steal money from Goliath while taking down Goliath. Oh and David is also a big fat liar.
The criminal part of the story is wildly entertaining if you happen to be into corporate intrigue and have a strong grasp of the economic system. However, if you are like the friend who watched the movie with me, you will find your eyes glazing as the discussions of production levels and prices are pretty prevalent in the movie. Plus the scam perpetrated by Mark Whitacre to extort money from his employer is slightly complicated to understand if you don’t really follow the world of finance. Basically, it was too complicated for the average movie watcher and could have been more dumbed down in my opinion.
The part of the story that was far more interesting and more accessible to all was the part where we see Mark Whitacre lying to everyone and I mean everyone. No one is safe from his lying, not even himself as he starts to believe his own BS. Throughout the movie, there is just this weird feeling that we have as we watch the character weave this tale of deception. At times, we feel bad for him as we really think that he is simply delusional and at other times, you just cannot believe how unbelievably stupid he is. It’s like watching Michael from ‘The Office’ for almost 2 hours straight. It’s sometimes funny but mostly it’s just cringe-worthy.
Did I like The Informant? Yes, I loved it. Mostly because I am into corporate/finance/business intrigue stories where the characters are flawed (in this case, really flawed). However, I think that it is definitely not for everyone, especially if you are not into corporate/finance/business intrigue stories where the characters are flawed (OK, I am really repeating myself but you try naming that genre in three words or less).
Title: The Informant
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Producer: George Clooney, Jeff Skoll, Michael London
Cast: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey, Thomas F. Wilson
Synopsis: What was Mark Whitacre thinking? A rising star at agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Whitacre suddenly turns whistleblower. Even as he exposes his company’s multi-national price-fixing conspiracy to the FBI, Whitacre envisions himself being hailed as a hero of the common man and handed a promotion. But before all that can happen, the FBI needs evidence, so Whitacre eagerly agrees to wear a wire and carry a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, imagining himself as a kind of de facto secret agent. Unfortunately for the FBI, their lead witness hasn’t been quite so forthcoming about helping himself to the corporate coffers. Whitacre’s ever-changing account frustrates the agents and threatens the case against ADM as it becomes almost impossible to decipher what is real and what is the product of Whitacre’s rambling imagination. Based on the true story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in U.S. history.
Watch the The Informant trailer.