Steven Soderbergh has spent the ’00s committed to making lightweight genre experiments. It can at least be said that The Informant!
is one of the better ones. Though never bridging the dramatic disconnect that hurt The Good German
, this film realizes its story isn’t that interesting. What keeps The Informant!
on its toes is its only potentially sane lead character. Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) insists that he’s one of the good guys. As an employee of agri-industrial company ADM, he finds himself in a central position of exposing ADM’s malpractice. Soderbergh has Whitacre distract himself from the convoluted happenings with funny/philosophical voiceovers about the art of multi-tasking, and whether polar bears know that their noses are black. The Informant!’s take on cutting corners to success evokes the America of Mike Judge’s Extract
. Placing it on a more global scale, Soderbergh gets to poke fun at the self-importance of corporate thrillers. Few of the narrative events leave an impression, but Whitacre happily takes The Informant!
off the rails.