Sunday, October 04, 2009

To Tell the Truth

Mark Whitacre is a character I can totally root for. A complete B.S. artist, the guy tells so many tall tales, and in the new movie The Informant!, it's nearly impossible to know if you can believe anything he says. Steven Soderbergh's latest stars Matt Damon as Whitacre, an employee of Archer Daniels Midland, an Illinois corporation that specializes in providing corn-based products and other additives for foods around the world. Whitacre's a noble suit, or so he thinks, and at least according to his narration, something's not right. So he volunteers information to the FBI and becomes an informant for them. But over time, the facts don't add up and Whitacre becomes as suspect as the stories he tells.

Soderbergh's film parallel's Whitacre's stories in that the more outrageous and unbelievable they become, the more fun the film is. At first, The Informant! feels like a farce where the humor is slightly forced — and aided by Marvin Hamlisch's whimsical score. But it gets better with time, and eventually the film becomes quite comical as we watch Whitacre squirming out of one situation or another by twisting his story and introducing a whole new lie. He really does believe he's doing good by ratting out the corporate malfeasance, and thinks he'll be regarded as a hero by his coworkers when it's all done. Suffice it to say, The Insider this is not. But The Informant! is a decent film that'll make for a good rental a few months from now. I'm giving it a B. So there.



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