MCN Columnists
Douglas Pratt

By Douglas Pratt

The Informant!

An appealing bait-and-switch tale, pretty much based upon true events, Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant!, has been released by Warner Home Video. Channeling William H. Macy, Matt Damonstars as an executive in a large food conglomerate who confesses to the FBI that he has been involved in a worldwide price fixing scam when he is called in on the investigation of another matter. He agrees to help gather evidence against his supervisors, but the case unfolds in a number of unexpected ways. Scott Bakula co-stars. Although set in the Nineties, Soderbergh uses a Marvin Hamlisch musical score and title card typefaces that evoke the Seventies, with perhaps the reason for this being the same untethered spirit that informs the narrative and motivates the hero. The film has a satisfying level of sophistication in the complexity of the deals the hero is involved in that plays well against the inherent humor of his distracted and guarded personality.

The picture is presented in letterboxed format only, with an aspect ratio of about 1.85:1 and an accommodation for enhanced 16:9 playback. As usual, Soderbergh does his own, typically murky, bland cinematography, which is transferred as well as it can be amid the haze. The 5.1-channel Dolby Digital sound has a reasonably effective mix and is adequately delivered. There are alternate French and Spanish tracks in 5.1 Dolby, optional English, French and Spanish subtitles, and 6 minutes of deleted scenes that often hit the nail too square on the head, although a couple are quite funny.

The Blu-ray can do nothing to rescue the cinematography and in fact, the way these things work, it actually makes it look worse, as you are more aware of how fuzzy everything is. The sound is better detailed, but the differences are minor. The subtitling and special features are carried over from the DVD, with one additional feature (which really belongs on a DVD for reasons of convenience), a commentary track featuring Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns. It is a reasonably informative talk, going over both the making of the film and the background of its subject. Near the end, they talk about how badly the film did in previews, but anticipate, since they were recording the track before the film’s commercial release, that the boxoffice gross would prove the previews wrong. Sorry guys, didn’t happen. They also, at another point, demonstrate an obliviousness to irony as they digress into a discussion of candy corn and how it has ‘no corn in it,’ when in fact, as the opening narration of the film clearly lays out, the candy, like practically every other food item, is loaded with corn syrup.

– by Douglas Pratt

Douglas Pratt’s DVD-Laser Disc Newsletter is published monthly.
For a free sample, call (516)594-9304 or go to his website at

Comments are closed.

The Ultimate DVD Geek

Quote Unquotesee all »

“We don’t have any idea what the universe is. Wise people have always told us that this is proof you shouldn’t think, because thinking leads you nowhere. You just build over this huge construction of misunderstanding, which is culture. The history of culture is the history of the misunderstandings of great thinkers. So we always have to go back to zero and begin differently. And maybe in that way you have a chance not to understand but at least not to have further misunderstandings. Because this is the other side of this question—Am I really so brave to cancel all human culture? To stop admiring the beauty in human production? It’s very difficult to say no.”
~ László Krasznahorkai

“I have a license to carry in New York. Can you believe that? Nobody knows that, [Applause] somebody attacks, somebody attacks me, oh, they’re gonna be shot. Can you imagine? Somebody says, oh, it is Trump, he’s easy pickings what do you say? Right? Oh, boy. What was the famous movie? No. Remember, no remember where he went around and he sort of after his wife was hurt so badly and kill. What?  I — Honestly, Yeah, right, it’s true, but you have many of them. Famous movie. Somebody. You have many of them. Charles Bronson right the late great Charles Bronson name of the movie come on.  , remember that? Ah, we’re gonna cut you up, sir, we’re gonna cut you up, uh-huh.


One of the great movies. Charles Bronson, great, Charles Bronson. Great movies. Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct, right? It’s not politically correct. But could you imagine with Trump? Somebody says, oh, all these big monsters aren’t around he’s easy pickings and then shoot.”
~ Donald Trump