Student Voice


May 24, 2024



Corporate crime film pays off

September 24, 2009

After seeing this film I’ve got to admit to you all, this has been just a little trickier than I anticipated. While the just right/in between stage worked beautifully for Goldie Locks and her minor case of breaking and entering, it unfortunately has not carried over into review writing so swimmingly. Needless to say, I’ll do my best to try and capture your attention with an “ehh” movie.

Our viewing pleasure for this week was dropped into the hands of Matt Damon as “The Informant!” Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Intriguing perhaps? Maybe even beguiling to the senses of sight and sound?

One could only wish. Unfortunately, what started as a curious storyline turned around into a rather long-winded, albeit, funny version of narcissist Michael Clayton.

A true story, Matt Damon portrays Mark Whitacre-embezzler, compulsive liar, and an all-around easy going family man who gets all too caught up in the Enron-esque behavior of the corporate manufacturer he works for. When asked by the FBI to turn informant and put the company away, Whitacre is all too eager and willing to help bring injustice to its knees. However, after years of planning, taping and collecting evidence, the case against the company is put into jeopardy when Whitacre’s own mistakes catch up with him. The result is a feeling of madness and frustration, seeming to make the audience ask the question: will it ever end?

Fortunately for us, unlike Mark, it does.

While Soderbergh does have a knack for finding humor in almost any subject (corporate greed included), the film itself doesn’t have enough to carry it through to hilarious proportions.

Damon has a strong role and fits the character well, perfecting the “I’m just a nice guy trying to do right thing for the family” type, but lingers in that annoying oddball category that makes you as the audience just want to say, “leave me alone already!”

In addition, Damon also narrates for his character throughout the movie, enabling the viewer to listen in on Mark’s personal thoughts and to gain understanding of the way he justifies certain actions over others. Though this component of the film was one initially I took to be a nuisance, I now would have to disagree, thanks to my fellow reviewer Ken Weigend, who pointed out that it is helpful in developing Whitacre’s thought process throughout the film.

In this respect I do feel that Soderbergh and Damon worked well to give the audience the real guy with real issues perspective. Apart from Whitacre and his two FBI handlers I don’t feel that the other characters seemed helpful, but unimportant, only in the story so as to throw in moments of sanity to baance out Whitacre himself.

While this certainly won’t be a favorite piece of mine by Soderbergh, I do give him credit for taking on a story that in normal perspectives, many of us wouldn’t find funny, and turning it into a comical life-run-amuck feature. With that being said, I will advise you all that if you’re dying to see it, wait and put it in your Netflix queue because chances are you might not think those eights buck you spent were worth it after all.

Katie Heaton is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.