Sep 202009
 

theinformant_smallposterWhat was Mark Whitacre thinking? A rising star at agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Whitacre suddenly turns whistleblower. Even as he exposes his company’s multi-national price-fixing conspiracy to the FBI, Whitacre envisions himself being hailed as a hero of the common man and handed a promotion. But before all that can happen, the FBI needs evidence, so Whitacre eagerly agrees to wear a wire and carry a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, imagining himself as a kind of de facto secret agent. Unfortunately for the FBI, their lead witness hasn’t been quite so forthcoming about helping himself to the corporate coffers. Whitacre’s ever-changing account frustrates the agents and threatens the case against ADM as it becomes almost impossible to decipher what is real and what is the product of Whitacre’s rambling imagination. Based on the true story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in U.S. history.

Genres: Comedy and Adaptation; Running Time: 1 hr. 48 min.; Release Date: September 18th, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for language.

Starring: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey, Thomas F. Wilson

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

This is one incredibly bizarre story! It’s also quite funny, I laughed out loud quite a few times. At the end, it’s also quite troubling. White collar criminals seem to blame everyone but themselves, and Whitacer seemed to have created his own fantasy world.

I remember following this story to a certain degree, and being outraged that this corporate whistle-blower was treated so poorly by the FBI and the government. I now realize I only knew half the story. I now know there’s so many twists and turns in this story you could easily write the proverbial book!

I wondered if Soderbergh had taken extreme liberties with the story, but on NPR this morning, the author or the original was interviewed. When asked about the accuracy of the movie, he said that everything in the movie was in the book, so it appears there wasn’t much exaggeration. It now makes me want to read the book.

The end is ironic because it brings up a lot of important issues I can’t discuss without spoiling the movie. It really catches you off guard on so many different levels!

I think it’s important to keep in mind that the real story is ADM (Archer Daniels Midland)  an incredibly powerful transnational corporation that cost the world’s consumers billions of dollars. We get to see at the very end of The Informant what happened to all the key players. It’s very troubling, indeed. The Supreme Court ruled in the 19th century that corporations have many of the rights of a living, breathing person. Too bad they don’t get punished to the same degree a real person does!

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  One Response to “Informant!, The – A Movie Review”

Comments (1)
  1. I heard about this guy on the radio the other night and how stressed he became while working as both an informant for the FBI and embezzling from the company. I think it would be difficult to do either one, but to do both at the same time is unbelievable.

    The final thought, about corporations not being punished, made me think of a peculiar event in Tennessee early in the 20th Century. An elephant killed her handler, was tried for murder, and hanged. Corporations, unlike elephants, can defend themselves in court, and, unlike even most people, corporations have very deep pockets. That explains why they can get away with murder.

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