The Informant 2009

Critics score:
79 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Scott Von Doviak, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ Closer to a Coen Brothers farce than A Civil Action or North Country. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Damon's voice and demeanor are just right, and the actor-who really is an actor, a good one-works out Whitacre's particularities like a character man stepping up to a leading role, rather than a movie star, slumming. Read more

James Rocchi, MSN Movies: ...a strange, strong, tragically funny comedy about all the lies we tell ourselves and others to make it through the wicked world and the working week. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: A smart, cynical movie about how we buy now -- oops, I mean, how we live now. Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: The Informant! is one of [Soderbergh's] ugliest works, photographed on the RED digital camera system in such a way that depth of field is meaninglessly flattened into backlit brown mush. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The Informant! does raise a fascinating question: How can humans so compartmentalize their psyches? But Whitacre has no stature -- he's just a nut. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Damon plays it admirably straight, for the most part, thereby serving as a counterweight to the clamorous self-delight that surrounds him. Unfortunately, that's not enough to save the production... Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Despite an appealing central performance from Matt Damon, disguised in a mustache and complicated swoop of hair, The Informant! feels like a jumble of ideas rather than a concerted whole. Read more

Tasha Robinson, AV Club: While the details are fresh, the story arc follows a standard pattern, a cautionary tale of spiraling bad-faith decisions. But Soderbergh and Burns compensate by playing the story for wry laughs and adding an almost distracting variety of texture. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: The Informant! is a hoot, an ever-escalating tale of corporate crime, greed and out-and-out craziness. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: It'd be a tragedy if it weren't so richly absurd, but it would also make for better comedy if the joke weren't on us. The Informant! laughs so long and hard that it forgets to check whether we're laughing along. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: I liked the movie quite a bit, but by the end I felt as if I were at a live TV show with a blinking sign ordering me to LAUGH. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: Few directors other than Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino can make films with the same geek joy -- the same love of cinematic history -- as Steven Soderbergh. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Damon is an agile comic performer, and Soderbergh knows how to serve him up without losing sight of the ultimate seriousness behind it all. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: [Damon] -- who has quietly and steadily turned into a great Everyman actor -- is in nimble control as he reveals his character's deep crazies. Read more

Laremy Legel, In the end, it seems as though it's better to aim for searing moments and whiff on greatness than to shoot for the middle and hit it. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: The exclamation point in the title is your first clue that Steven Soderbergh's intentions here are more than a little askew. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: While this film fits squarely into Soderbergh's recurrent goal of ignoring audience interest when possible, that's the only area in which it can be considered a success. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: A whimsical and light-hearted spin on a serious story of corporate whistleblowing. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Soderbergh, despite three lighthearted Ocean's films, is not a natural comedic director. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: The Informant! is a return to form for Soderbergh, who couldn't seem to put anything resembling an emotional charge into his recent films...This time, Soderbergh is in full control, and his star is on fire. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: The Informant! is too clever by half -- and yet, at the same time, not quite as smart as it thinks. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: The Informant! has two aces going for it: Soderbergh's poking at the mazelike holes in American business and Damon's whirling dervish performance. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: The Informant! is more amusing than laugh-out-loud hilarious, but is never boring. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: If only The Informant! was as giddy as its exclamation-point title, as jaunty as its corporate Muzak soundtrack -- or even as funny as its TV commercials. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Soderbergh has transformed this into a treatise on the incompetence of everyone involved: the informant, the corporation upon which he informs, the lawyers, and the FBI. Strangely enough, it's completely believable. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: As Soderbergh lovingly peels away veil after veil of deception, the film develops into an unexpected human comedy. Not that any of the characters are laughing. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Shooting fast and digital in just 30 days, Soderbergh invests the film with the breathless pace of a thriller and the gravity befitting a nation's soul sickness. Damon makes Whitacre recognizably human. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, I enjoyed it, in a momentary-diversion sort of way, without really being sure it was worth doing. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Mark's collection of bizarre behaviors doesn't add up to a character. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: The film's casting is spot on. Damon is delightful playing someone who is a terrible actor. Wearing a ghastly muffin-shaped hairdo, an ill-advised mustache and 30 extra pounds around his waist, he's hardly recognizable as lethal Jason Bourne. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: A bait-and-switch film that promises caper comedy with silly hair and dated-fashion costumes, and ends up with something that's much weirder -- a marshmallow-light corporate satire. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: In adapting reporter Kurt Eichenwald's non-fiction account of Mark E. Whitacre, the corporate corn husker turned federal snitch, Soderbergh has given this incredible story exactly the amount of insanity it deserves. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The Informant! says that people who do good or ill have complex motives for their actions, and that not everyone is knowable, instantly or ever. Read more

David Jenkins, Time Out: It may come across like a self-satisfied madcap bauble, but that titular exclamation mark is the key that unlocks the myriad subtextual delights of Soderbergh's timely latest. Read more

Christopher Orr, The New Republic: [Damon] occupies his equivocating antihero utterly, capturing the Walter Mittyish self-delusion, the desperate desire to please, and the bottomless conviction that, whatever his transgressions, he's still one of the good guys. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Soderbergh takes a deadly serious news story and amplifies and colors it to the point of outrageousness. The results aren't always consistent, but they are undeniably compelling. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: The pic showcases an excellent performance by a chubbed-out Matt Damon as a Midwestern executive who's so smart he's dumb. Read more

Robert Wilonsky, Village Voice: The filmmakers have painted a 1990s story with a 1970s palette, and the tone clashes with the setting, like plaid on paisley. Read more