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Informant!, The (2009) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Image"The Informant!" is a somewhat original film, but ends up suffering from the Hollywood blunder – overdoing the repetition of the second act.  Other issues also keep the film from becoming a terrific movie-going experience.

"The Informant!" is based on the true story of the most publicized big business tattletale in US history.  Matt Damon plays Mark Whitacre, a business executive for the ADM corporation, a company that works with corn and lysine.  Whitacre is a biochemist by nature, but dragged into the business side.

When Whitacre confronts the management about a mole inside ADM the feds are called in.  A series of unforeseen events begin at this point.  If you can stay tuned, the film will keep throwing curveballs your way.  The problem is, is that after the first few curveballs they being to all look the same and you stop caring, just waiting for the end to arrive.  However, others may feel differently.

While the informant business carried out by Whitacre takes a back seat, one can only sit through this film thinking to him or herself, "How dumb can Whitacre be?"  This is actually a good question to ask.  It demonstrates that the filmmakers did their job in conveying the psychological status of Mark Whitacre.  When you watch the film, you will understand what I am referring to.  I do not want to give away the spoilers as the film has a specific set sequences with certain things remaining a mystery until the appropriate moment in which they are unveiled.

My main issue with the film is big problem for me as a movie watcher, but may not impact others.  I take issue with the film's appearance and the time period.  They simply do not match.  The film takes place in the early to mid 1990s.  However, the film looks like it is set in the 1970s.  In fact, it looks like this film could have been set around the Watergate scandal.  The image is consistently yellow and orange and the set design is retro, as are the costumes.  The setting and the time frame just don't work for me.  This kept me from getting immersed in the story, which is the opposite of what watching a film should be about. The VC-1 encode from Warner comes to Blu-ray as a mixed experience.  This is a very artistic piece, so many of the issues seen on the screen are intentional.  The photography is highly natural.  Every shot is soaked in yellows and oranges, with whites blowing out every outdoor shot.  This, combined with the fact that the film was shot digitally, leaves the image looking very non-filmic, which will hinder film enthusiasts.  The black levels are strong and contrast is consistent.  However, details are inconsistent, which becomes irritating after a while.  (Funny, but this also plays along with the up and down nature of Whitacre himself, so perhaps it is intentional, though I doubt it.)  Textures are absent throughout, which seems to be a trend with digital shooting.  The biggest issues with this transfer are the constant instances of ringing and artifacting.  Chalk those up to the digital aspect once again.  Fans will overlook these issues, but those that don't quite get immersed by the story will find these issues more haunting.

The audio track is extremely bland.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track does not offer much for audio enthusiasts, but is accurate to the original sound design.  Rear channels and the LFE are left virtually untouched, producing a front-heavy mix.  Dialogue is the center of attention throughout and comes across crisp and clean.  However, there points in which the dialogue is obscure by chatter and ambience, but this is clearly intentional.  Dynamics are better than I expected thanks to the music score.  Any directionality and panning is weak on part of the sound design.  The audio track simple is what it is, but don't expect much.

The Blu-ray comes with but two bonus materials.  There are a few deleted scenes that are interesting but don't add anything to the story overall.  The other supplemental feature is the director and screenwriter audio commentary.  The commentary is very informative for fans.  It covers everything from the adaptation to the casting to the production of the film.  The Blu-ray package also comes with a second disc which functions as both a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy.

"The Informant!" is not everyone's cup of tea as it becomes a bit long-winded after a while.  However, it has some drama and comedy, keeping you guessing along the way.  The audio and video transfers are nothing spectacular, but they are accurate to the original intentions and should appease fans.  I recommend at least renting this title.

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