THE INFORMANT!:

If Marvin Hamlisch’s soundtrack in this movie sounds similar to his musical arrangement from THE STING (1973), it’s not a coincidence. Like the Newman-Redford gem, director Steven Soderbergh’s (TRAFFIC) film revolves around an elaborate con. However, Matt Damon’s (THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY) title character deceives on multiple levels as a corporate vice president who becomes a whistleblower for the FBI while carrying out a check-cashing and embezzling scheme against the company he’s “ratting” out. The actor’s amazing performance, likely to be Oscar nominated, lies in his bland on-screen persona which masks his larcenous intentions. He’s the guy who lies when the truth would sound better but never really figures out why he does. In contrast, the other supporting players come off as rather colorless and somewhat generic. Surprisingly, this movie lacks a proper sense of pacing, which is detrimental to its concluding revelations. I’m not sure either if the offbeat, quirky tone, which worked for the Coen brothers in BURN AFTER READING (2008), is right for this film that, at times, feels like a joke in search of a punch line. Perhaps if the movie’s middle portion had been more in the vein of a corporate thriller it might have been more effective and even made the “twists” near the end more of a payoff. On the strength of Damon’s work, it still might wind up being “the movie nominated for Best Picture that I don’t think belongs.” But as a whole, the film lacks what I would describe as a cohesive narrative structure that’s way too uneven for me to recommend. That’s the truth as I see it, and as my wise grandmother once said, “It’s important to be sincere even when you don’t really mean it.”

MOVIES TO WATCH FOR IN OCTOBER: CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY (October 2), THE INVENTION OF LYING (October 2), WHIP IT (October 2), ZOMBIELAND (October 2), COUPLES RETREAT (October 9), LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (October 16), WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (October 16), AMELIA (October 23), CIRQUE du FREAK: THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT (October 23), THIS IS IT (October 28)