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The Informant!

(No longer in theaters)
  • Rating: R — for language
  • Director: Steven Soderbergh   Cast: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey, Tony Hale
  • Running Time: 108 minutes
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review




Gregory Jacobs


Warner Bros. Pictures

Release Date

Sep 18, 2009

Release Notes


Official Website


The Informant!, based on a book by Kurt Eichenwald, plays like a pale, depopulated Burn After Reading with a fatted Matt Damon doing a Halloween number—dark hair helmet, big glasses, thick mustache. He plays Mark Whitacre, who exposed a price-fixing conspiracy at Archer Daniels Midland but turned out to be a major head case. Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns are utterly uninterested in corporate misbehavior and its ramifications, so the agribusiness giant comes off as a rather convivial enterprise. They home in on the freak show, presenting Whitacre as the wacked-out soul of corporate America—a man who sees vacant land and dreams of outlet stores, food courts. This is yet another of Soderbergh’s “exercises in style,” which means he has one big idea and sticks to it. He makes the space shallow and ugly (faces are bathed in orange) and adds groovy sixties titles and Marvin Hamlisch music. The Informant! does raise a fascinating question: How can humans so compartmentalize their psyches? But Whitacre has no stature—he’s just a nut. Steven Spielberg explored this duality—and the crazy hope underlying it—so much more engagingly in Catch Me If You Can.