Quirky ‘Informant’ boasts originality

Informant 2

"The Informant!" starring Matt Damon, is a quirky comedy about the worst whistle-blower in history. Not only is he a compulsive liar but he’s an idiot as well.

This eccentric original comedy is directed by Steven Soderbergh, the man who released "Ocean’s Eleven" and it’s sequels. "The Informant!" has the same quirky offbeat humor to it that the "Ocean’s" films aspired to, without the multitude of gorgeous men. Instead we are given a moustached Matt Damon in a fat suit.

The film is based on the nonfiction book by Kurt Eichenwald about the corporate whistle-blower, Mark Whitacre (played by Damon), who exposed price-fixing in the corn industry. While the subject matter of the film is a little dry, white-collar crime not being as exciting or riveting as "The Firm" makes it out to be, it does redeem itself through the humor and originality of the film.

The character of Mark Whitacre is (cliché or not) literally an enigma wrapped inside an enigma, with maybe a light drizzling of enigma sauce. Throughout the entire film you are never sure whether he is telling the truth or not. Even when he gets caught in his lies and confesses to whatever deception he uttered, you’re still not sure if you’re getting the whole truth. Whitacre himself seemed to exist in this world of layers of delusion.

It was clear that Whitacre thought of himself as the "good guy," the moral whistle-blower that just wanted to make the corporate environment a more honest place, if that’s even possible. Even the audience believes he plays the role of the good guy, albeit an idiotic good guy, before his deceptions are intermittently revealed. However, the fact that he turns out to be the "not-quite-so-good guy" is actually refreshing and adds to the humor inherent within every inch of this film.

"The Informant!" is an intelligent comedy, though be warned that it’s the kind of film that produces a chuckle, not a full-on belly laugh. The film’s dry humor can reminds someone of such shows as "Arrested Development" and "The Office." All three productions seem to combine a perfect mix of intelligent humor and impossibly stupid characters. Additionally, Damon’s stream-of-consciousness voice-over that is completely irrelevant to the plot is hilarious.

One of the most important elements of this film, besides the script, is the music. Marvin Hamlisch, who wrote the music for films such as "The Way We Were" and "The Sting," composed the music for this film and it is evident in every little note. In "The Informant!" the music exquisitely complements the plot of the film, every well-placed note translating meaning to the audience. It is so effective that the music actually becomes a source of humor in and of itself, as it acts as a commentary on the action unfolding within the film.

While the film was at times confusing and boring, (biochemistry and price-fixing not being the most exciting action-filled topics) it did entertain for the majority of its 146 minutes. The script, humor and musical score of this film saves it from being labeled as a pathetic attempt at "The Insider" and actually achieves something many films aspire to: originality.