Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.
Mark Whitacre has worked for lysine developing company ADM for many years and has even found his way into upper management. But nothing has prepared him for the job he is about to undertake - being a spy for the FBI. Unwillingly pressured into working as an informant against the illegal price-fixing activities of his company, Whitacre gradually adopts the idea that he's a true secret agent. But as his incessant lies keep piling up, his world begins crashing down around him. Written by
The Massie Twins
This story was the subject of the 9-15-2000 episode (#168) of This American Life entitled "The Fix is In." See more »
In the scene when they supposedly are in Mexico, the pay phone model reveals they are actually at some Aeromexico lounge in the US. See more »
You know that orange juice you have every morning? You know what's in that? Corn. And you know what's in the maple syrup you put on your pancakes? You know what makes it taste so good? Corn. And when you're good and help with the trash, you know what makes the big, green bags biodegradable?
[to his son]
Corn *starch*. But Daddy's company didn't come up with that one. DuPont did.
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Prologue: "While this motion picture is based on real events, certain incidents and characters are composites, and dialog has been dramatized. So there." See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. Steven Soderbergh is a genius with a camera. Just admiring the shots, angles and movement of the camera in his films is worth the price of admission. Here we get a fact-based story from the book by Kurt Eichenwald showing us what happened when Mark Whitacre became one of the most famous corporate whistle-blowers of all time ... he exposed price-fixing at Archer Daniels Midland, the ag-giant.
Matt Damon takes this quasi-caricature and turns him into a comedy act along the lines of Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar. OK, I'll admit, there is more subtlety here than in that one. Still, the voice-overs by Damon's character provide the ramblings of a madman - an ADD, embezzling madman.
There is so much comedy here that it is easy to forget what heinous crimes the senior management of this company actually committed - and how arrogant to think they could get away with it. This again shows that many in the corporate world are the equals of even the most corrupt politicians. Power and Greed are all-consuming.
While, I don't know the details of the real story, it was interesting to watch Whitacre's interacting/playing with the FBI agents (Scott Bacula and Joel McHale). They want to believe him and are actually crushed when his game is exposed.
A real Soderbergh touch is the casting of both Smothers Brothers in unrelated roles. Very nice. It is very difficult for me to believe that someone as intelligent and shrewd as Whitacre could actually be so, well, goofy. But it does add an entertainment element to the film. I will say it is not at the level of far superior "The Insider" or even "Catch Me if You Can", but it is quite watchable.
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