Sunday, September 20, 2009
Director Steve Soderbergh crosses "Catch Me If You Can", "Ocean's 12", and "The Informer" to make an film based on a wild true story. Mark Whitacre is a bio-chemist executive and the world's greatest bi-polar sociopath. A series of events turn him informer against his corporation and the ensuing intrigue turns more outrageous the deeper Whitacre goes, building lie upon lie, right up to the end.
Matt Damon plays Mark Whitacre and he is terrific. He completely inhabits the character and the role is unlike anything he's ever done before. The problem is when you begin to realize what a nut job Whitacre really is, you lose your sympathy for the character. While Mr. Damon is very entertaining to watch, the film is all style and not much substance.
Mr. Soderbergh captures the mood and style of the mid- 90's and Marvin Hamlisch's kitschy score is perfect for the story. The film is very amusing but never laugh out loud funny, and the trailer spoils many of the best lines.
Scott Backula, best known for his TV work, does a good job as the FBI agent assigned to the case as Whitacre's handler. He tries hard to keep up but he's no match for Mr. Damon, who completely owns the film. Tony Hale also co-stars and does some great double takes as Whitacre's attorney.
The disclaimer at the beginning alerts you that the film is based on a true story but names and elements have been changed and or embellished. Truth be told, thanks mostly to Mr. Damon, "The Informant!" is worth your time.