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Informant!, The


Stars: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Melanie Lynskey, Joel McHale, Tom Wilson, Eddie Jemison, Ann Dowd, Tom Smothers, Dick Smothers, Ann Cusack, Clancy Brown, Candy Clark, Frank Welker

Director: Steven Soderbergh

A very odd film about a very odd character. Supposedly affected by bipolar disorder, Mark Whitacre (Damon), a high-ranking executive at an agri-industry, was a Walter Mitty and compulsive liar who could make up stories faster than Agatha Christie - and even forge documents to substantiate them.

It's as hard to distinguish the truth from the lies in Mark's life as it is to follow the ins and outs of this based-on-truth tale of corporate espionage, multi-national price fixing, wiretapping, embezzlement and FBI investigations. How much of this is in Mark's imagination is impossible to determine; after all - as the epilogue reveals - after a prison sentence, he's now CEO of a new company - even the man's hair was false.

Unfortunately, the labyrinthine plot needs to attract our constant vigilance, and it fails to do that, The characters, too, are hardly dynamic in the writing and performance, apart from an amusing portrait by Lynskey of Mark's bouffant-haired (the film's set in the 1990s), tinkly-voiced wife who, says Mark, in one of his off-the-wall voiceovers, 'likes avocados - and who wants that texture in their mouth?'. A strange tale to be sure.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 15 Nov 2009