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Informer, The


Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Ana de Armas, Common, Clive Owen, Sam Spruell, Ruth Bradley

Director: Andrea Di Stefano

Although it takes a while to get into its stride, this violent thriller does have some very effective scenes, notably an exciting prison break sequence towards the end. And the film eschews conventional drug story tropes in favour of Die Hard-style thrills and suspense.

Danish-born Kinnaman, a dead ringer for old-time movie star Douglas Fairbanks Jr, has the title role as Pete Koslow, who has been whisked from a 20-year manslaughter sentence after killing a man in a bar fight, and now works undercover for the Feds in their attempts to round up a Polish drugs ring.

It looks as though things are going his way until law agents get their wires crossed and an undercover NYPD man butts in on a drugs/money exchange with fatal results.

As a result, Pete finds himself dragooned into buying a prison sentence to help bring down the bad guys' drug empire, a move endorsed by his federal bosses (Pike, Owen) who soon renege on their promises when things go pear-shaped.

With his wife (the liquid-eyed de Armas) and daughter menaced by Polish goons, Koslow takes matters into his own hands and, after killing an inmate sent to dispatch him, takes the leering, corrupt chief prison officer (Spruell, one of several Brits doing US accents with varying success) hostage, and makes a desperate bid for freedom.

After a rather muddled beginning, the film settles down to provide tough, gritty entertainment with a generous ration of increasingly hazardous action.

David Quinlan

UK/USA 2019. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by Cinelease.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 26 Aug 2019