The Informant! was a movie I really wanted to enjoy, but didn't. It looks beautiful: sleek surfaces accompanied by an overly lush score by Marvin Hamlisch, and Matt Damon delivers what they call a bravura performance. But somehow I left the movie unaffected. The movie centers on the fumbling attempts of a real-life whistleblower, Mark Whitacre, to expose a price-fixing scandal within his company. Part of its charm is how terrible both sides of the operation are at their jobs: Whitacre conspicuously dictates his going-ons into his wire while the rest of his company glides along blissfully unaware. And maybe that's the film's larger point: there are no shadow conspiracies manipulating our world, just genial people who remain willfully ignorant of the consequences of their actions. To its credit, the movie doesn't talk down to its audience. It deliberately withholds information and is unconcerned with making sure you understand what's happening at every single minute. But halfway through the movie I got annoyed that a director I really like, Steven Soderbergh, had wasted his talent and a fantastic cast on a film that I didn't really care about. In his defense, there is one scene towards the end of the movie that seamlessly combines Soderbergh's cinematic innovation with Damon's terrific performance to reveal the wounded core of Whitacre. But as Martin said in his review of Inglourious Basterds, one great scene does not a film make. So I will hold onto the hope that Soderbergh just needed to get this out of his system and will deliver a film to rival one of my all-time favorites, "Out of Sight," the next time around.
Post-Script It has been two days since I saw this movie, and I suspect it might be a sneakbomb, aka a movie that you initially are ambivalent about but upon further reflection find yourself liking more and more (there's probably a better term for this, but I am sticking with "sneakbomb" for the time being). I think I would have benefitted from knowing more about the case it was based on. You, young reader, might want to check out the This American Life story about the problems with the ADM case.