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284 MOVIES (released titles only)

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#50- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

#100- Black Swan

#200- Mysteries of Lisbon

Last- Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Informant!

The Informant! (2009)

Written by  Scott Z. Burns, Kurt Eichenwald (book)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Starring Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Melanie Lynskey, Joel McHale

some dude who is a pathological lier becomes an informant to the FBI for price fixing that was going on in his corn corporation. he is a bad informant because he is a lier and exaggerates. he is a bad informant because he enjoys the intrigue he has created...because he is a lier.

In order to succeed in watching this movie, the viewer must suspend many things.  These things include, but are not limited to:

  1. A sense of time
  2. A sense of humor
  3. A sense of what Matt Damon looks like
This movie is slow.  It consumes something like three years of the characters' lives and it feels like it's a 1:1 ratio.  The whole thing just drags.  It's not exciting in any way, and you don't get invested in the characters at all.  There is no notion of the stakes for anybody.  Matt Damon starts off as an odd combination of rich and dorky but it's not endearing and you don't really learn how he got there or why it's important to stay that way.  His wife and kid(s? - even this isn't terribly clear) want to fit the stable they just built with horses.  That's nice, but it would also be nice if you ever got the impression that he really gave a shit about them.  If you were to have come away from his meager scenes with them with any sense of love or companionship or even responsibility then you might be able to generate in yourself some conflict about what he does.  Instead you get scene after scene of him being a moron at work, wondering how he got to where he is.  How can one be so successful in business and so utterly naive?

This movie is not funny.  We just watched a really good movie that was quite cerebrally funny without being laugh-a-minute funny, where the punchline was a a large quantity of death.  Here, the only joke is that Matt Damon (whatever the fuck his name is) is an asshole.  He keeps doing the same stupid thing and getting the same results and he pulls along a bunch of FBI people who, while they may have a case somewhere, need to weed through all his bullshit to find it and--is *this* supposed to be funny?--don't take any time to look into his background at all, as if none of these DOJ bigwigs anticipated a scenario in which he would be cross-examined.  Scott Bakula makes a good sad face.  Joel McHale will never be a serious film star.  Neither of those facts contributes to this film's attempts at humor.

The visual aesthetic of this movie is off-putting.  I was alive (fuck, I was almost a grownup) in the 90s, and I don't remember them looking like the settings in the photos of my parents' wedding. Everything is either orange or blue, and while that's a point of view I don't care.  And the makeup was jarring.

Looking at those two photographs it's important to note that he's supposed to be older in the second one.  It's also a good point to make the digression into his acting ability.  The combination of the makeup and the Damon eliminates any path to a good performance.  You just hear him, with his arrogance vibe, as the artificial jowels jiggle.

Ditto his wife (and again, I say that that is not a shirt a rich woman would have worn in 1992).  She looks like she was in a version of Splice starring Winona Rider and Lorraine McFly.

You don't have to suspend your appreciation for how shots are composed, though, so that's something.  And maybe the worst part about this is that we know Soderbergh can do better.  Despite Jennifer Lopez, I really like Out of Sight.  And once you get past the whole notion of completely shitting on the original at least the first Ocean's movie is funny, well-paced, and modern.  What was up here?

That last question is not rhetorical.  I expect that this blog will make it to the executives in charge of the movie and one of them will post their answer in a comment.

The Woman
holy crap, BORING! i slept through the middle 50 minutes of this movie. enough so that when we continued watching this in session 2, after the child had gone to bed. i had wiped all interest of wonder about what was going on. i have not cared less about what the hell was going on in a movie. to make the corn industry exciting by poking fun at how boring it is still doesn't make it interesting. throw the financial end of corporation in there and, yup, there i go. in one ear and out the other. zombie expression aaaaaand sleep.

i would like to point out to moster, publicly, that this movie took place in the midwest, so style is set back about 10 years.

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