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A no-sweat equity scam

In these post-Enron, post-Lehmann Brothers (now IPL and Goldman Sachs) days, a film about mega-corporate heraferi always gets us our attention.

movie reviews Updated: Apr 30, 2010 22:11 IST

The Informant!
Warner Brothers/Big Video, Rs 599
Rating: **1/2


In these post-Enron, post-Lehmann Brothers (now IPL and Goldman Sachs) days, a film about mega-corporate heraferi always gets us our attention. Watching movies like the 2005 Jim Carrey-starring remake of the 1977 George Segal-Jane Fonda-starring Fun With Dick and Jane bring present rumblings into a topical cinematic context. In that way, Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! goes a step further.

It’s a comedy laced with realism (based, as it is, on a true story) that tells the story of a ‘good guy’ who blows the whistle on the bad guys. Matt Damon plays the podgy senior executive of a food additive corporation, Mark Whitacre, who decides to work with the FBI to expose the illegal price fixing his bosses are up to. Like the two FBI agents, a puzzled and then admiring duo, the viewer too is flummoxed why a successful and rich corporate chap is playing Lone Ranger. As the story moves, we realise why: because Mark Whitacre loves being ‘an FBI agent’. The film changes gear into a heady mix of the absurd and the delusional as we discover that Mark not only can’t keep his mouth shut about being an informant for the FBI but that he may be a ‘double agent’ in the most bizzare of senses. Some of funniest bits of the movie have Damon’s voiceover telling the viewer about some arcane fact even as he goes about his ‘adventures’. (The one about an executive commenting about another executive tie and then immediately dying of a brain aneurysm sort of sets the zen-like tone of these voiceovers.)

If you don’t mind the initial drag and are ready to rewind a few times to get some complicated nuances right, watch this. If you’re Lalit Modi, you’ll love it.