The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

"The Informant!" Shows Damon's Versatility

2 min read


Every once in a while, a movie comes along that defies what we consider the “norm” for a particular actor. “The Informant!” is that movie for Matt Damon. His unbelievably hilarious performance is unlike his usual fast-paced action flicks, and Damon certainly committed to the role—reportedly gaining 30 pounds to appear more like the man on which his character is based.
“The Informant!” is a dark comedy based on true events in the life of a high-ranking employee of a Fortune 500 company and his experiences with a government investigation into the illegal price-inflation of their products. The movie, based off true events from a book by journalist Kurt Eichenwald, was directed by Steven Soderbergh, who is known for such films as “Erin Brockovich” and “Ocean’s Eleven.”
The movie begins with Damon’s character, Mark Whitacre, experiencing a moral dilemma regarding the business practices of the company for which he works. After approaching the FBI for justice, Whitacre becomes involved with two agents (Scott Bakula and Joel McHale) who assist him in gathering evidence against his superiors so that a federal case can be made.
The film follows Whitacre’s meetings throughout the business world, capturing his antics in attempting to gain the information needed for the case. We constantly get tiny asides from Whitacre—such as the number of frequent flier miles he has acquired or his theories on hygiene—that become stranger and stranger the deeper he becomes involved. They make for increasingly amusing breaks from the rather dull dialogue-intensive scenes.
Whitacre proves to be extremely helpful with the investigation, compiling a multitude of tapes and recordings incriminating his bosses for their illegal activities. Not too far into the movie however, it becomes clear that something isn’t quite right with Whitacre’s behavior.
He becomes cocky, carelessly informing random people of his top-secret work with the FBI. We begin to see that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to Whitacre’s quirky behavior; deeper, unpredictable issues arise from his odd personality.
Overall, the movie has a satisfying ending and all of the events make sense in the context of the conclusion of the film, which remains unpredictable until the very last scene. The casting for the film is excellent, and the continuity is respectable.
However, “The Informant!” is extremely dry in its humor. If you enjoy movies such as “Fargo,” or if you are searching for an alternative to action packed thrillers thin on plot, “The Informant” will definitely satisfy your needs.