As if there weren’t enough controversies in corporate America, that I get to know of yet another one through “The Informant”. Now this was one movie which I wanted to catch almost as soon as it hit theatres in September 2009, but for some funny reason kept eluding me until this weekend. Although the title suggests what the movie is all about, it doesn’t quite give you enough hints as to how entertaining the movie actually is, albeit in a ‘dark humor’ kind of way.
The movie deals with Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon, who in my opinion is playing quite the role of his career so far), a fast moving executive at ADM, a company engaged in the manufacture of various corn-based products for almost all related industries in early 90s America. The movie starts with Mark proposing a conspiracy theory where a Japanese competitor has purposely injected a bug into their lysine processing systems to gain an unfair advantage. This brings the FBI into the picture for an official investigation which quite literally starts off a bizarre chain of events.
Whitacre then confesses to the FBI Agent that he has been engaged in ‘price-fixing’ on behalf of his employer ADM for the past few years, and agrees to covertly co-operate with the FBI in unearthing more evidence and details regarding this scandal. He goes on to collect hundreds of hours of clandestine video and audio as evidence against this particular practice over the next four odd years for the FBI.
However, the twist in the tale comes when the FBI figures out that Whitacre has probably not been on the ‘up and up’ with them as far as his other activities at ADM are concerned. This provides a nice little twist in the tale as far as this movie is concerned and leads up to an awesome ending to the movie.
What intrigues me about this movie is the fact that this is almost entirely based on true events which took place at ADM in the 90s, and the fact that most of the names and events have actually occurred pretty much in the same spirit as they have been portrayed in the movie. This movie almost entirely relies on dialogs, excellent casting and true events to keep the screenplay moving, and it therefore pays to watch this movie with complete attention. One small interesting twist that Steven Soderbergh (of the Oceans’ series) has added is the fact that Whitacre keeps mumbling these small interesting little tit-bits of trivia to himself as he walks around performing his regular tasks.
All in all a must-watch movie for anybody who loves corporate scandals and controversies. An added advantage is the fact that all Matt Damon fans will really enjoy his role and his portrayal of Whitacre immensely.