Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Review: The Informer

The Informer
Cert: 15 / 113 mins / Dir. Andrea Di Stefano / Trailer

Okay, join in if you know this one. Something-something Joel Kinnaman stars as Peter, a former gangster who’s now a Family Man™ and off-the-books double agent for the FBI. Something-something Polish mobsters doing a drug deal that goes wrong. Something-something Peter cast adrift by his corrupt handlers and facing a five-stretch to avoid blowing his cover. Something-something Peter has to work this whole damned thing through himself not knowing who he can trust, to find some version of justice, keep his family safe and spend more of the run-time giving glowering glances than reading his lines. Etcetera. Etcetera.


Apparently adapted from the sort of book which keeps the shelves warm in The Works, Andrea Di Stefano’s The Informer shows an equal paucity of ambition, all soundtracked by a shop-demonstration mode of Dark Ominous Tones™. Between the cardboard characters and clockwork plot mechanism, I’m surprised that the cast and crew managed to channel the concentration to finish making it.

It's like Russell Crowe handed down the mantle of po-faced, put-upon, anti-hero Family Man™ to Liam Neeson, he gave it to Matt Damon, and now Matt's passed it on to Joel Kinnaman and we all have to go through the cycle again, nodding politely and pretending to be impressed by the fight choreography when none of the shaky-cam shots therein last for more than a fifth of a second*1.


Kinnaman simmers throughout, precisely the performance needed for a role which could have been written by a computer. Meanwhile, Rosamund Pike and Clive Owen plough through the screenplay like they’re resigned to starring in TV procedural cop dramas now. Ana De Armas is in this as The Girl One, the big-eyed wife of the hero who spends the film flitting between simpering and screaming.

The villains of the piece are pretty clearly defined, and it was only ever going to end one way. Fair enough. And yet the movie could have cut to the Directed By credit at any moment and I’d have been absolutely fine with that. I had no emotional involvement with this film either way. Worse, I suspect that’s intentional.


How, in a world where Sicario exists, does a thriller as clock-punchingly perfunctory as The Informer even get made? I mean, I know how movies get made, but why was this greenlit? Who read through this screenplay and decided it was bringing something new or worthwhile to 2019? Whose favourite film will this absolute, unremitting filler actually be?

Don’t get me wrong, The Informer is never bad*2.
But I think it might have been more interesting if it was...

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
One for the Statham, Butler & Wahlberg shelf*3.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
Well, the other three people in my screening seemed to think so!!1!

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
Gifts For Father’s Day™.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Well, let’s take a moment to remember that Rosamund Pike was in Gone Girl*4.
Fuck it, Joel Kinnaman was in RoboCop, even...

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
Well only if you’re about to tell me how fascinating, inspiring or fulfilling you found it all.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There ain't.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: That Mimban MudTrooper, Scarif X-Wing Pilot and Resistance Trooper is in this. And so is that First Order Stormtrooper

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 The honourable exception being the 1-on-1 scrap in the prison dorm, which goes to the ground almost instantly and is just grappling and grunting until it's over within 90 seconds. That part is a far more realistic depiction of how most fights work. Unfortunately it's also boring as hell to watch, and is the reason than movie-fighting was developed for movies.
That's right, The Informer really can't win either way... [ BACK ]

*2 Clive Owen, though. Clive Owen is bad.
Christ, his accent here sounds like he comes from the New York suburb of Walford... [ BACK ]

*3 Statham, Butler & Wahlberg sounds like the absolute worst solicitors' firm in the world.
Someone should make a sitcom out of that. [ BACK ]

*4 Seriously, Rosamund Pike was in Gone Girl and was fucking magnificent. What the hell are her mortgage repayments like that she's signed up for this absolute autopilot of a movie? All it's doing is using up toner by making the CV longer and dragging her Rotten Tomatoes average into the middle. Who benefits from that? [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

No comments:

Post a Comment