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The Informant!

3.5 2
Director: Steven Soderbergh

Cast: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale


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A rising star in the agricultural industry suddenly turns whistleblower in hopes of gaining a lucrative promotion and becoming a hero of the common people, inadvertently revealing his penchant for helping himself to the corporate coffers and ultimately threatening to derail the very investigation he helped to launch in this offbeat comedy from Academy Award-winning


A rising star in the agricultural industry suddenly turns whistleblower in hopes of gaining a lucrative promotion and becoming a hero of the common people, inadvertently revealing his penchant for helping himself to the corporate coffers and ultimately threatening to derail the very investigation he helped to launch in this offbeat comedy from Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh. Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) was fast rising through the ranks at agri-industry powerhouse Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) when he became savvy to the company's multinational price-fixing conspiracy, and decided to turn evidence for the FBI. Convinced that he'll be hailed as a hero of the people for his efforts, Whitacre agrees to wear a wire in order to gather the evidence needed to convict the greedy money-grabbers at ADM. Unfortunately, both the case -- and Whitacre's integrity -- are compromised when FBI agents become frustrated by their informant's ever-shifting account, and discover that he isn't exactly the saintly figure he made himself out to be. Unable to discern reality from Whitacre's fantasy as they struggle to build their case against ADM, the FBI watches in horror as the highest-ranking corporate bust in U.S. history threatens to implode before their very eyes. Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, and Melanie Lynskey co-star.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
A majority of the humor in Steven Soderbergh's corporate espionage comedy The Informant! comes from watching the protagonist, the vice president of a prominent agricultural-industry giant, issue a series of internal non sequiturs while inadvertently gabbing his way right into his own grave -- and Matt Damon's mouth is a virtual earth excavator. Sporting a haircut that's spritzed to early-'90s perfection and neckties that look like a bad '80s hangover, his incessant, increasingly delusional ramblings provide the film with some of its most outlandishly funny moments. That is, of course, until his entire ruse begins to unravel and we're struck with the sudden realization that we've been laughing at a man with a serious mental illness. At that point, the comedy turns quasi-tragic. Then again, if the character doesn't take his condition seriously, why should we? Mark Whitacre (Damon) is a high-level executive at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), an agricultural company that uses corn to turn a tidy profit. But something fishy is going on behind the scenes at ADM, and it's beginning to draw the attention of Uncle Sam. Before long, Whitacre is bitten by the whistleblower bug, and decides to turn informant for the FBI. Though special agents Brian Shepard (Scott Bakula) and Bob Herndon (Joel McHale) are elated to find an inside man who's willing to give up the goods on ADM, they quickly discover that they've gotten more than they bargained for when Whitacre develops an acute case of verbal diarrhea. Not only that, but the details seem to change every time Whitacre opens his mouth, placing his contacts in the Bureau in a rather precarious position and ensuring that he'll never realize his aspirations of running the company. Before long, Whitacre has become so enamored of his role as government informant that he can no longer sort fact from fiction in his own mind, and fails to realize that price fixing at ADM is the least of his worries. Reflecting back on Soderbergh's career, The Informant! can almost be taken as the comic inverse of Erin Brockovich; whereas the gorgeous crusader in that film successfully used her quick wit and good looks to take down a corporate monster, the rambling, bipolar knight erroneous here can't help but drop his sword on his foot every time he raises it. Alas, unlike the uncompromised Brockovich, Whitacre has been complicit in the wrongdoings of the company he now seeks to expose, only he's too lost in his own head to realize it. From Whitacre's distorted perspective, the FBI should hail him as a hero for his efforts in ripping the lid off of corporate malfeasance, but from an objective standpoint he's just as guilty as the rest of the well-dressed criminals he seeks to take down. As a result, our instinct is to laugh as the dirt begins to pile up around Whitacre's ankles, and screenwriter Scott Burns peppers his screenplay with enough hilarious moments to maintain our good will even when the story begins to drag on a bit longer than necessary. The same goes for Marvin Hamlisch's playful, upbeat score -- one of the most distinctive in some time, thanks to a retro-kitsch arrangement that evokes both James Bond and Austin Powers with its familiar spy guitar twang and creative use of kazoos. Hamlisch's idiosyncratic compositions make the occasional lag time between laughs breeze by, and provide the oddball protagonist with the perfect marching music. Still, the majority of credit for the film's overall success goes without question to Damon. The Informant! is the kind of film that could have easily faltered with a lesser actor in the lead, yet Damon's farcical tour de force of a performance is compulsively and consistently watchable thanks to the endearing nuance he brings to the role. His character is just so warped that it's impossible not to like him, even when you want to wring his neck for being such an insufferable dolt. Kudos also go out to casting director Carmen Cuba for assembling a fantastic team of supporting players to orbit around Damon's weirdo gravitational pull. Without them, the lead character's fascinating quirks wouldn't shine nearly as brightly as they do.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Additional scenes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Matt Damon Mark Whitacre
Scott Bakula FBI Special Agent Brian Shepard
Joel McHale FBI Special Agent Bob Herndon
Melanie Lynskey Ginger Whitacre
Rick Overton Terry Wilson
Tom Papa Mick Andreas
Tony Hale James Epstein
Adam Paul FBI Special Agent Michael Bassett
Paul F. Tompkins FBI Special Agent Anthony D'Angelo
William Marsh FBI Special Agent Ken Temples
Joshua Funk FBI Special Agent Robert Grant
Ann Dowd FBI Special Agent Kate Medford
Allan Havey FBI Special Agent Dean Paisley
Lucas Carroll Alexander Whitacre
Clancy Brown Aubrey Daniel
Patton Oswalt Ed Herbst
Hans Tester Peter Dryer
Wayne Pere Sheldon Zenner
Rome Kanda Hirokazu Ikeda
Raymond Ma Kanji Mimoto
Dann Seki Joon Mo Suh
Yoshio Be Kazutoshi Yamada
Jayden Lund James Mutchnik
Eddie Jemison Kirk Schmidt
Candy Clark Mark Whitacre's Mother
Frank Welker Mark Whitacre's Father
Tom Wilson Mark Cheviron
Ludger Pistor Reinhard Richter
Scott Adsit Sid Hulse
Rusty Schwimmer Liz Taylor
Dick Smothers Judge Harold Baker
Tom Smothers Dwayne Andreas
Bob Zany John Dowd
Joseph Chrest Visiting Client
Ann Cusack Robin Mann
Samantha Albert Mary Spearing
Jimmy Brogan Dr. Derek Miller
Richard S. Horvitz Bob Zaideman
Daniel Hagen Scott Roberts
Andrew Daly Marty Allison
Larry Clarke Whitacre's Second Attorney
Chic Daniel FBI Agent at Raid
Steve Seagren Correctional Officer

Technical Credits
Steven Soderbergh Director
Peter Andrews Cinematographer
Larry Blake Sound/Sound Designer
Howard Braunstein Producer
Scott Z. Burns Screenwriter
George Clooney Executive Producer
Carmen Cuba Casting
Kurt Eichenwald Producer
Jennifer Fox Producer
Marvin Hamlisch Score Composer
William Hunter Art Director
Gregory Jacobs Asst. Director,Producer
Michael Jaffe Producer
Michael London Executive Producer
Dawn Brown Manser Set Decoration/Design
Doug Meerdink Production Designer
Stephen Mirrione Editor
Michael Polaire Co-producer
Shoshana Rubin Costumes/Costume Designer
David E. Scott Art Director
Jeff Skoll Executive Producer
Dennis Towns Sound/Sound Designer
Jane Wuu Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Informat
1. Main Titles [4:23]
2. Lysine Bugs [2:30]
3. "It's the Japanese!" [2:28]
4. "The FBI?" [5:09]
5. Mark Tells Brian About Adm [6:01]
6. The FBI Closes In [2:39]
7. No Longer Cooperating With the FBI? [4:13]
8. Mark Decides to Tell the Truth (Part 1) [4:13]
9. Mark on the Road [3:55]
10. Mark Can't Live Two Lives [2:19]
11. Mark Decides To Tell the Truth (Part II) [2:51]
12. Getting It All on Tape [5:12]
13. Getting It All on Videotape [3:59]
14. Hawaii [3:44]
15. "What's Whitacre's Story?" [:33]
16. The Raid [3:01]
17. "Who Did You Tell?" [4:03]
18. Adm Gets a Lawyer For Mark [2:27]
19. Meeting With His Lawyers [3:19]
20. "He's a Forger!" [4:43]
21. "Why Would I Hide Anything From You Guys? [5:57]
22. Talking to the Therapist [4:28]
23. Mark Decides to Tell the Truth (Part III) [2:08]
24. Mark is "Kidnapped" [4:04]
25. Mark's New Lawyer [3:45]
26. Sentencing [5:02]
27. "Trust Me"-End Titles [5:03]


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The Informant! 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Sherlock_Holmes More than 1 year ago
Rating: 63% Informant! may be entertaining for a documentary, yet fails to convey much interest or excitement for hard-core viewers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago