So, Matt Damon is funny.

Jim here.

So, I watched “The Informant!”


At first I was unclear as to why they had the “!” in the title. By then end it made sense.

“The Informant!” is about Mark Whitacre, a vice president with Archer, Daniel, Midland who begins working with the FBI (through an oddly fascinating turn of events) to expose price fixing in his companies agriculture business, specifically in lysine production.

Sounds exciting, right? Strangely, it is.

What makes this movie work is a combination of writing, directing, and acting (I know, I know. No shit? Good writing, good directing, and good acting make the movie work? Such insight.) Perhaps I should say a balance between the three. Scott Burn’s script (based on Kurt Eichenwald’s book) has a very manic and slightly insane feel, which you really need in a movie that focuses on a man trying to tape record meetings about a company limiting production levels of lysine to set market value at an inflated rate. It’s a hefty task that is pulled off spectacularly.

Soderberg shows the restraint that is his trademark. It doesn’t play like a comedy, which is what makes it work. He never allows the characters to know that they are being funny because they don’t think they are being funny. If Whitacre thought, for a minute, that he was funny, this movie would be painfully awful. The oddly out of place, almost manic music plays against the very calm and almost serious editing tone to create a feeling that is just slightly off, and that fits the world these people inhabit.

Matt Damon is fan-f’ing-tastic. Looking at his work, I don’t think this man can make a bad movie. Yeah, he made some less than great ones, but since becoming a name he has chosen carefully and done some great work. Damon is my favorite type of actor. He does good work in good movies and he keeps his private life and private views private. To me, he is nothing more than what ever character he is playing, and I have absolutely no interest in him outside of that.

This movie is very much the Matt Damon show. Don’t get me wrong, Count Bakula (my little nickname for Scott, but don’t you try and call him that, you aren’t as close as we are) is outstanding as always, and Joel McHale has one of the greatest facial reaction scenes ever (pay attention to him in the Chinese restaurant). But this is ALL Damon.

The three main elements (writing, directing, and acting) come together perfectly in the film’s voice over scenes. At first they are adult ADD ramblings that show just how out of it Whitacre is. He’s in an important business meeting and his thoughts ramble off to his mispronunciation of the word centimeter throughout his early school days, or he obsesses on the German word for pen. Slowly these devolve to show just how unstable his character is. They are brilliantly written and show the progression of this character brilliantly, they are transitioned into and out of skillfully and you feel like you are in the mind of the character as he just gets bored, and the acting on them is outstanding as Damon makes it believable that this guy would be thinking this at this time.

While the movie does drag at times it is a satisfying comedy that I enjoyed very much. It is most definitely worth your time. Now watch it and tell me the ! doesn't make sense.


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