The Informant! is based on the true story of corporate whistle blower Mark Whitacre who came to the FBI with evidence of global price fixing, but caused their case to become threatened when it became obvious that he was an embezzler and compulsive liar.
The film is a kind of comic throwback to the cold war thrillers of the 1970’s with the espionage being perpetrated by big business rather than the super powers. In fact it is the tone that Steven Soderbergh chose for the film that never sat particularly well with me; Matt Damon puts in a winning performance as Whitacre, but the format really contains little more than stream of scenes involving men in ties having meetings which becomes quite tiresome by the end of the film. Plus the soundtrack consists of a constant stream of cheesy lift muzak that gives it more the feeling of a lighthearted sitcom than corporate expose and although Scott Bakula is his usual likeable self as the lead investigator, the rest of the rather forgettable cast fail to make any impact at all. Beyond the mild amusement and disbelief at Whitacre’s actions it all feels a little too flimsy and the material didn’t really have the legs to last the full two hours for me.
On the whole, The Informant! is an interesting story that is almost scuppered by the rather misjudged approach and pales in comparison to Catch Me If You Can.