6.4/10
62,517
203 user 257 critic

The Informant! (2009)

Trailer
2:32 | Trailer
The U.S. government decides to go after an agro-business giant with a price-fixing accusation, based on the evidence submitted by their star witness, vice president-turned-informant Mark Whitacre.

Director:

Steven Soderbergh

Writers:

Scott Z. Burns (screenplay), Kurt Eichenwald (book)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon ... Mark Whitacre
Lucas McHugh Carroll Lucas McHugh Carroll ... Alexander Whitacre (as Lucas Carroll)
Eddie Jemison ... Kirk Schmidt
Rusty Schwimmer ... Liz Taylor
Craig Ricci Shaynak ... Discouraged Foreman
Tom Papa ... Mick Andreas
Rick Overton ... Terry Wilson
Melanie Lynskey ... Ginger Whitacre
Thomas F. Wilson ... Mark Cheviron (as Tom Wilson)
Scott Bakula ... FBI Special Agent Brian Shepard
Scott Adsit ... Sid Hulse
Ann Dowd ... FBI Special Agent Kate Medford
Allan Havey ... FBI Special Agent Dean Paisley
Howie Johnson ... Rusty Williams
Joel McHale ... FBI Special Agent Bob Herndon
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

un-believ-able See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Whitacre mentions watching a show in which a character calls home and hears himself pick up the phone. This was the plot of a 1985 episode of The New Twilight Zone named "Shatterday", written by Harlan Ellison, directed by Wes Craven and with Bruce Willis as the guy with a double. See more »

Goofs

The establishing shot for the first scene at Brian Shepard's office states that the office is in Springfield, Illinois, but shots of the door to the FBI to Shepherd's FBI field office says Decatur, Illinois, where ADM is located. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mark Whitacre: [voiceover] 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?
Mark Whitacre: [to his son] Do you?
Alexander Whitacre: Uh-huh. Corn.
Mark Whitacre: Corn *starch*. But Daddy's company didn't come up with that one. DuPont did.
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Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

References Bananas (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Trust Me
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Produced and Performed by Steve Tyrell
Steve Tyrell appears courtesy of E1 Music
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User Reviews

Entertaining and engaging comic version of a true story
21 February 2010 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Reading the opinions posted on this site it appears that a lot of viewers came to this film with the expectation of big laughs throughout and, when the film didn't delivered them, walked off in a huff moaning about the film failing to deliver. In fairness to them I suspect that their complaints may be valid based on trailers and marketing suggesting this would be the case – the exclamation point in the title probably didn't help either. So I'm glad then that I came to the film without a great deal of knowledge about what the film was trying to be other than it was a slightly comic version of a true case from the 1990's.

I am glad because this is what the film is – a comic take on a real situation where the decision to do so as a light comedy appears to have paid off. With Mark Whitacre as the main character, we follow him into the case and we immediately start to get the impression that this guy really doesn't have his head in the real world – like he doesn't understand the consequences of anything he says and does, which perhaps accounts for his rather cheerful outlook and easy personality. This is true but the full extent of his actions are unveiled nicely across the whole film – leaving me at times a little like the FBI lawyer during the presentation from ADM's attorney, mouth open not quite believing it.

It is not a hilarious movie by any means but the comic air makes it easy to enjoy and the story is engaging and entertaining. Soderbergh does slightly overdo the "wacky" feel to and he probably didn't need to have as many recognisable faces from comedy in small roles, but he does make it work. A big part of this reason is Matt Damon – showing that while he may be a Hollywood action star now, he is very capable as a character actor to. He does channel William H Macy from Fargo a little bit in how he will try and make pathetic lies to get himself out of trouble but I see this as a compliment because Macy is very good at that sort of character performance. Damon nails the cheerful self-delusion and his narration keeps us "on side" with him, making the comic tone work. The support cast is perhaps a bit too full of well-known faces but everyone is good, working again with the approach.

Overall The Informant! appears to be disliked mainly by those who expected something that marketing led them to believe this was. Coming to it on its own terms however this is an engaging story told with a comic air that works and makes the film as entertaining as it is interesting. Not hilarious and one could question if it is fair to handle Whitacre's story in a light manner, but it does work and I enjoyed it for what it was.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

18 September 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Informant! See more »

Filming Locations:

Blue Mound, Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,464,314, 20 September 2009

Gross USA:

$33,316,821

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$41,771,168
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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