Hilarious, intelligent and so baffling it could only be based on a true story, THE INFORMANT! is a showcase for Matt Damon.
Damon put on 30lbs and his best slack-jawed, goofy expressions to play real life corporate VP Mark Whitacre.
Filled with ambition and loving the good life, Whitacre begins to realize that something isn't quite right with the numbers at agricultural giant ADM. With a stunning mix of righteousness and ignorance, Whitacre becomes an informant to the FBI on one of the biggest price fixing lawsuits in history.
Soon, much to our surprise and the FBI's, Mark proves to be a very loose cannon in every way imaginable, with very funny results.
Damon has this character down, perfectly straddling the line between goofy and naive. His surrounding cast is terrific.
Scott Bakula (NCIS: New Orleans) is FBI agent Brian Shepard, who has a soft spot for Mark's "innocence", Joel Mchale (Community) plays it straight as an FBI boss, Rick Overton (Groundhog Day) and Thomas Wilson (Biff from "Back to the Future") are strong and Tony Hale (Veep) is perfect.
Hell, even the Smothers Brothers show up in serious roles to bookend the film. It's a killer cast.
Director Steven Soderbergh (Oceans 11, Erin Brockovich) keeps everything spinning, somehow making number crunching and agricultural manufacturing exciting.
In a bold move, Marvin Hamlisch (The Sting, The Way We Were) crafts a retro music score that's wholly original but seems lifted out of a 1950's comedy. He showed moments of this technique with his lone OO7 score for "The Spy Who Loved Me" when he referenced Maurice Jarre's "Lawrence of Arabia" score to accompany Bond on a camel by the pyramids, etc, but the entire score here is parody and pretty brilliant.
It's hard to believe that this is a true story.
When something is this filled with idiocy, intrigue, greed and larceny, maybe it could only be true.
The Informant! earns the exclamation point and a B.