The Informant! is "a return to form" for director Steven Soderbergh, said David Denby in The New Yorker, and the film's star, Matt Damon, "is on fire." Based on a book of the same name about "corporate whistle-blower" Mark Whitacre (played by Damon), The Informant! (watch the trailer) is "a vertiginous experience that grows increasingly hilarious" as Whitacre takes foolish risks to expose price-fixing at Archer Daniels Midland.
"If you're on Soderbergh's wavelength," said Marshall Fine in Hollywood & Fine, "you'll laugh yourself silly at the chutzpah of The Informant!" But the entire movie is "built around a Damon performance that captures the manic high of a man who needs a lithium drip," and it will "either amuse or infuriate you, depending on your tolerance for the ramblings of someone suffering from attention-deficit disorder spiked with a case of bipolarity."
The Informant! could have been a compelling exploration of "corporate misbehavior," said David Edelstein in New York magazine. Instead, Soderburgh made it merely a Halloween freak show featuring a "fatted Matt Damon" with a pompadour wig and thick glasses. Exploring the duality of Whitacre's psyche is simply not that interesting—"he's just a nut."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Feast your eyes on this beautiful linguistic family tree
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- 10 things you need to know today: October 31, 2014
- The culture war finally comes to the Catholic Church
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week