Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Informant: It Is Good.

The Informant: it is good. Very good. Soderbergh essentially makes over his 2000 Erin Brockovich gem with an asshole lead, casting a bloated Matt Damon as Mark Whitacre, a whistleblower who is less unappealingly horsey-looking than J. Roberts, but who has an entire stable in his backyard bought with the money he swindled from the food additive company he later decided to report to the FBI for price-fixing. So, yeah, there are valid, vaguely horse-related reasons to dislike them both. But please note that to doubt Steven Soderbergh's talent is an anti-American sentiment punishable by law.

It's weird, however, that in these hard times of economic destruction at the hands of greedy corporate white dudes you almost like Matt Damon in spite of his criminal conduct. It helps that the movie's inside his head at all times, and his headthoughts are hilarious. And apparently delusions of grandeur are always more slapstick, and less anger-inspiring when they come with a bushy moustache. The non-fiction book the film is based on is decidedly less funny (though I wish the film would have played up Whitacre's obsession with The Firm more, that comedy just writes itself) which makes it all the more daring that Soderbergh made a somewhat sympathetic, or at the very least, lighthearted, portrait of a corporate criminal and pulled it off successfully. (Madoff, look alive boy!)

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