Based on the book, The Informant: A True Story by Kurt Eichenwald, The Informant! is the true story of Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), a biochemist turned businessman who works for Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), an agricultural company in Decatur, IL. After learning of illegal price-fixing at the hands of his co-workers, Whitacre teams up with the FBI so that he can oust the guilty and take the company over himself.
Whitacre, father and husband to wife Ginger (Melanie Lynskey), finds himself caught in lie after lie as it comes to light that his company may not be the only guilty party in this story. FBI agents Brian Shepard (Scott Bakula) and Robert Herndon (Joel McHale) work with Whitacre to bring ADM to justice, but while trying to secure a locktight case, Whitacre’s behavior makes the agents question whether they’re dealing with someone who has a different agenda.
Damon was great in this film. He gained approximately 25 pounds to play this real-life man and it helped to take away the aura that is normally Matt Damon. The character was quite spastic in nature and Damon captured that very well. It’s great to see actors not care about vanity when choosing roles to further their careers.
I found the casting of this movie very odd. The supporting cast is made up of a group of typically comedic actors: McHale (The Soup), Patton Oswalt (The King of Queens), Thomas F. Wilson (Back to the Future), Scott Adsit (30 Rock), Tony Hale (Arrested Development), Paul F. Tompkins (Best Week Ever) and Dick & Tom Smothers (The Smothers Brothers Show). Not that comedic actors can’t tackle other genres, but it’s uncommon to see a group this large in a dramatic film. It left me wondering if the director, Steven Soderbergh, was trying to say something specific or if it was more of an inside joke.
The music in this film was interesting as well. Composer Marvin Hamlisch was the man in charge of the music, but the instrumental sounds reminded me of a circus. The music set a tone of hijinks and chaos throughout the film. In addition, the music was reminiscent to that used in Soderbergh’s other films starring Damon, the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy.
Overall, this movie was a good time. There were some great performances and it was a fun watch for a serious, true story.