Loosely connected stories capture a week in L.A. in 1983, featuring movie executives, rock stars, a vampire and other morally challenged characters in adventures laced with sex, drugs and violence. Written by
I had good expectations about "The Informers". Being a fan of Bret Easton Ellis' writing, knowing that he co-wrote the script himself, and with a cast that includes names like Billy Bob Thornton and Mickey Rourke, it had everything to be a new cult favourite, right? Wrong. I'm not familiar with Gregor Jordan's previous work ("Two Hands", "Buffalo Soldiers"), and given his speech before the film première at Sundance on January 22nd, I don't doubt his good intentions about this project. Unfortunately, a good movie isn't made just of good intentions. As in most of Ellis' work, the protagonists are a bunch of shallow, pretty rich kids (Jon Foster, Lou Taylor Pucci, Amber Heard, among others) and their just as shallow elderly peers/parents (Kim Basinger, who played Foster's lover in "The Door in the Floor", now plays his mother, who's depressed because of her husband's Billy Bob Thornton affair with the confused newswoman terribly played by Winona Ryder; less serious is Chris Isaak as Pucci's womanizing father, who seemed to have fun playing his character), in 1983 Los Angeles.
Jordan said during the Q&A that this is a movie about Los Angeles, and that Robert Altman's "Short Cuts" was an inspiration for it. It's light years away from the depth, originality and brilliance of "Short Cuts", though. Jordan doesn't know how to direct this sort of material; it pales in comparison to Mary Harron's insanely secure hand over "American Psycho", also based on an Ellis novel. "The Informers" doesn't even engage the audience like the flawed, but fairly entertaining "The Rules of Attraction". It tries too hard to be a cool movie and fails, almost always, miserably. The overall acting is pretty mediocre, although Isaak and Pucci bring some life to their characters. Foster, who was great in "The Door in the Floor", shows that he's not yet ready to play a lead (and he didn't even have to carry the movie on his shoulders à la Christian Bale; this is a big ensemble where nobody really stands out, and I'm including a pre-Wrestler Mickey Rourke and the late Brad Renfro, who plays the perhaps only likable character, in the list).
Jordan said Ellis was afraid to show up for the movie première at Sundance, probably predicting the criticism that was to come. I don't blame him (and I feel for Jordan too since you gotta respect someone who has the guts to face the honor - and pressure - of having your movie premiering at Sundance). Although nobody was impolite during the Q&A, the movie got trashed by the critics afterwards.
I have no idea how well this is gonna do at the box office, although Amber Heard's constant nudity will certainly catch some attention and give her lots of job offers (too bad her acting skills are still rather poor). I wouldn't call "The Informers" a terrible movie, just a very forgettable one. The final scene (not the conclusion, but the very final scene itself) is disturbing, sad and yes, memorable; but by then you feel like you wasted too much time with something that's been done several times, and much better, before. 4/10.
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