September 18, 2009 The Informant!
Studio: Warner Bros. Rating: R for language
In the 1990s, the Archer Daniels Midland Company ran into trouble because of a price fixing scheme.
It all came tumbling down when an insider ratted out the company to the FBI.
"The Informant!" tells the story of Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon). He goes to the feds when his conscience gets the best of him.
With knowledge of how ADM is manipulating prices of a chemical called lysine all around the world, Whitacre agrees to go undercover to expose the scam.
But Whitacre isn't exactly the smoothest operative. Several times he teeters on the brink of blowing his cover and alerting the crooked company officials that the government is on their trail.
"The Informant!" takes more than a few twists and turns as the story unfolds, but the reason it's so entertaining is Damon. He gained about 30 pounds to play the role and his look is so different that you immediately buy into his character.
Whitacre is at his heart a very down-to-earth guy, but there is something a little off-kilter about him. Soderbergh has him saying long monologues throughout the movie, which may or may not have much to do with what is actually going on. This is a quirky, jerky film but as it meanders to a conclusion you find that everything adds up, sometimes in surprising ways.
On my rating scale, "The Informant!" earns a TRIPLE.