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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Politics > Corporate Corruption > The Informant! (2009/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD + DVD)

The Informant! (2009/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD + DVD)


Picture: B-/C+     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: B-/C     Film: B



Steven Soderbergh has been quickly recovering from his Ocean’s films as an artist with the likes of Che (2008, see the Criterion Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and though The Girlfriend Experience did not work that well, The Informant! (2009) is one of the year’s most ignored films.  Like Flash Of Genius with Greg Kinnear, it seems to be the victim of de facto corporate censorship as it tells the tale of corruption at the very top and how it ruins people and affects the country in the worst possible ways.


Matt Damon is the title character, an employee of Archer Daniels Midland who happens to be a Vice President at the time we meet him as Mark Whitacre.  Based on the real case, Whitacre is a happy family man making good money and enjoying the good life, but he decides to throw that away when he discovers the company is involved with competitors in international price fixing of food additives.  Imagining himself as a big hero whose act might make him the head of the company, he contacts federal authorities who go along with him, but something is wrong.


The crime is going on, but Whitacre may have other secrets to tell and may be hiding a few personal ones of his own.  Can he survive the ordeal?  Will the company go after him?  Can the government protect him?  What will happen to his family?


Scott Z. Burns (Bourne Ultimatum) has written a solid script that is full of surprises, irony and gives Damon one of his best roles yet.  I will save a few name actor’s appearances as surprises, but this is a fine film with Coen Brothers caliber wild comedy and should eventually find a following now that it is coming to Blu-ray and DVD.  When you finish, you’ll wonder why it was not a big hit, even during awards season, then you’ll start to realize the censorship really going on to make such corruption possible.



The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is shot with Soderbergh’s new camera of choice, the RED One 4K HD camera, but the image is softer here than on Che with the same camera used and I actually though the 35mm print I screened looked a little better.  Color can be odd as well and the anamorphically enhanced DVDs are even softer and weaker.  Under a pseudonym, Soderbergh serves once again as his own Director of Photography.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is limited too often towards the front speakers, even when Marvin Hamlisch’s score plays.  Maybe some of the monophonic feel is intended (having Hamlisch do the score seems an overt reference to the composer’s work with Woody Allen), but it can disappoint.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 on both DVDs are even weaker and not as warm or rich.


Extras include additional scenes in all versions and Blu-ray exclusives including a feature-length audio commentary track by Soderbergh and Screenwriter Burns, plus Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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