The Informant! (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Comedy / Crime / Drama
Warner Brothers || R - 108 minutes - $35.99 || February 23, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-02-16


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer(s): Kurt Eichenwald (book); Scott Z. Burns (screenplay)
Cast: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joe McHale, Mealnie Lynskey


Theatrical Release Date: September 18, 2009


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Additional Scenes
  • DVD/Digital Copy Combo


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

CLICK HERE to check out the 1080p HD Screen Caps (opens in a new window).

Steven Soderberghís latest film reunites him with one of the stars of the Oceanís franchise, Matt Damon and in all honesty, I had some hopes this would live up to some of the reviews I had caught online over the past few months. Unfortunately, it did not.

The story, based on a tattle-tale, follows Mark Whitacre (MATT DAMON), a gosh-shucks type of fellow who works in upper management for a lycine development company called ADM. But while things seem to be going well for Mark, he voluntarily turns into a spy for the FBI as he reveals to two of their agents (SCOTT BAKULA, JOEL MCHALE) that ADM has been price fixing lycine with their competitors and have been doing so for years. The agents are perplexed that he would just offer up this information, but they roll with it and soon enough Mark is gathering incriminating tapes and video on these illegal activities. But things take a different turn when after the takedown of these executives Ė during which Mark had been caught in white lies himself Ė that the story turns from ADMís illegal price-fixing to the fact Mark had been embezzling money, to the tune of $5.5 million (if not more), from the company.

Like I said, I was looking forward to The Informant! Because Iíve enjoyed Soderberghís previous efforts from the Oceanís movies (even the second one has grown on me) to Traffic and Out of Sight, even his weaker efforts have been good. But I have to say that I was thoroughly bored for the first 30 minutes before the story started to pick up steam.

The movie is based upon a book by Kurt Eichenwald. Maybe the book was interesting and perhaps during the screenwriter portion (by Scott Z. Burns, screenwriter of The Bourne Ultimatum) it was still enthralling and would make for an interesting movie, but it just didnít work out that way.

The only reason this movie is worth anything, and a good portion of my rating goes to this, was for the fantastic performance by Matt Damon who proves why he is one of the best actors of this generation. Unlike someone like Daniel Craig or Pierce Brosnan, he can go from being the unlikely action hero one year to a lying businessman the next before jumping back into the action-thriller again.

The supporting cast also does an admirable job with what was limited roles since Damon got the meatier portions of the screenplay. Scott Bakula and Joel McHale, two actors that you wouldnít see as a couple of FBI agents, build up a fun report with Damonís Whitacre character while Tony Hale gets in there as Markís frustrated lawyer. Oh, and one cannot overlook the elusive Tom Wilson who I havenít seen in much since Back to the Future.

Overall, The Informant! Is worthy for Damonís performance but thatís about it. For a so-called comedy, satirical or not, I didnít laugh very much. Is it quirky? It absolutely is especially when it came to Markís seemingly random voiceovers where to pontificated various topics.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Feature Commentary Ė Director Steven Soderbergh and Screenwriter Scott Z. Burns sit down for a very informative commentary track that goes over every aspect of making this film and other than a few silent moments, itís a decent track, though it might be on the dry side for some. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Additional Scenes (6:25; HD) Ė There are only four deleted scenes and I recognized a couple lines that was featured in the trailer.

This release also comes with a Digital/DVD Copy Combo (** Blu-ray Exclusive **), however the DVD version is barebones so they did not carry over the additional scenes that are included on the separate DVD release...



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Iím a little surprised by this transfer. No, itís not the most amazing 1080p high-def transfer Iíve ever seen but this is most certainly the smoothest and cleanest... I was pretty amazed that there was nary a grain or noise throughout the picture (unless I blinked and missed it). As for a more technical look, The Informant comes to Blu-ray with a 1.78 aspect ratio. The original theatrical AR was 1.85 but itís the norm for Warner Brothers to open up the matting, I guess to satisfy those who donít want those pesky little bars on their widescreen televisions... In any case, I will say that even though the picture is clean, it also doesnít quite jump off the screen as other HD transfers have done. Parts are a little soft but I think that this isnít due to the transfer, rather itís because thatís how Steven Soderbergh decided to shoot it.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track isnít anything special, but it gets the job done. First, thereís a fair amount of dialogue, but on screen and via voiceover and either way sounds crisp and clear while Marvin Hamlischís unique score comes out of the front and rear channels effectively.



.::OVERALL::.

The Informant! shouldíve been a whole lot better and while Matt Damon certainly turns in a fantastic performance, the story itself is on the boring side and for a comedy, satirical or not, just wasnít funny. On the positive side, the video is amazingly clean and void of any graininess or noise and the audio is serviceable. However, there arenít much in terms of features, no behind-the-scenes featurettes, just a dry commentary and some throwaway deleted scenes.