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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Informant


Starring: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey and Richard Steven Horvitz
Warner Home Video
RRP: £26.99
Certificate: 15
Available 29 March 2010

What was Mark Whitacre thinking? A rising star at anti-industry giant ADM, Whitacre suddenly turned whistle blower. Even as he exposes his company's multi-national price-fixing conspiracy to the FBI, Whitacre envisions himself being hailed as a hero of the common man and landing a huge promotion. But before all that can happen the FBI needs evidence, so Whitacre eagerly agrees to wear a wire and carry a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, imagining himself as a kind of de facto secret agent and branding himself "0014" - twice as smart as James Bond 007. Ironic when it becomes clear that Whitacre is uncovering a different version of the truth...

The Informant is based on the book, of the same title, by journalist Kurt Eichenwald, which tells the true story of corporate whistle blower Mark Whitacre.

The biggest issue I had with the movie is that it doesn't really make it clear how everything went down. The way I read it was that Whitacre starts with a little lie to save his neck (when he claims he's got information that there's a saboteur ensuring that Whitacre's current tests are failing) but one thing leads to another and he ends up telling lie after lie getting in deeper. I never understood whether the price fixing was real, or just another one of Whitacre's lies. Even though ADM were charged and some of it's most senior employers went to prison, the evidence (as shown here) is very sketchy and it could be that those involved took a plea for a short sentence knowing that the flimsy evidence might just stand up in court.

Warner Brothers seem to be living on another planet when it comes to this release. The extras would be incredibly poor for a DVD release let alone a Blu-ray, but for some unfathomable reason they've opted to charge £27 - two pounds more than your average Blu-ray. This is odd, especially when you consider a lot of companies are currently selling Blu-rays for £20.

Extras include an audio commentary with director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Burns Story (highlights of which include an explanation of why the voiceover was used, that the exterior of Whitacre's real house was used in the film, pointing out that Matt Damon's nose was altered slightly for the movie, that the scenes in Brian Shepard's office were actually filmed in his old office and a suicide scene was cut because the director couldn't get it to play the way he wanted) and Deleted Scenes (6 min, 25 sec).

While technically you can't fault this movie, a clearer focus would have made for a much more enjoyable film. Personally, it's not a movie I'd want to watch again though.


Darren Rea

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