The Informers (2008)
Director: Gregor Jordan
Cast: Jon Foster as Graham Sloan, Austin Nichols as Martin, Amber Heard as Christie, Lou Taylor Pucci as Tim Price, Fernando Consagra as Bruce, Aaron Himelstein as Raymond, Mel Raido as Bryan Metro, Rhys Ifans as Roger, Germán Tripel as Bryan's Guitarist (as Germán Tripel), Billy Bob Thornton as William Sloan, Kim Basinger as Laura Sloan, Winona Ryder as Cheryl Moore, Brad Renfro as Jack, Suzanne Ford as Bruce's Mother, Cameron Goodman as Susan Sloan
I had good expectations about "The Informers". Being a fan of Bret
Easton Ellis' writing, knowing that he co-wrote the script himself, and
with a cast that includes names like Billy Bob Thornton and Mickey
Rourke, it had everything to be a new cult favourite, right? Wrong. I'm
not familiar with Gregor Jordan's previous work ("Two Hands", "Buffalo
Soldiers"), and given his speech before the film première at Sundance
on January 22nd, I don't doubt his good intentions about this project.
Unfortunately, a good movie isn't made just of good intentions. As in
most of Ellis' work, the protagonists are a bunch of shallow, pretty
rich kids (Jon Foster, Lou Taylor Pucci, Amber Heard, among others) and
their just as shallow elderly peers/parents (Kim Basinger, who played
Foster's lover in "The Door in the Floor", now plays his mother, who's
depressed because of her husband's – Billy Bob Thornton – affair with
the confused newswoman terribly played by Winona Ryder; less serious is
Chris Isaak as Pucci's womanizing father, who seemed to have fun
playing his character), in 1983 Los Angeles.
Jordan said during the Q&A that this is a movie about Los Angeles, and
that Robert Altman's "Short Cuts" was an inspiration for it. It's light
years away from the depth, originality and brilliance of "Short Cuts",
though. Jordan doesn't know how to direct this sort of material; it
pales in comparison to Mary Harron's insanely secure hand over
"American Psycho", also based on an Ellis novel. "The Informers"
doesn't even engage the audience like the flawed, but fairly
entertaining "The Rules of Attraction". It tries too hard to be a cool
movie and fails, almost always, miserably. The overall acting is pretty
mediocre, although Isaak and Pucci bring some life to their characters.
Foster, who was great in "The Door in the Floor", shows that he's not
yet ready to play a lead (and he didn't even have to carry the movie on
his shoulders à la Christian Bale; this is a big ensemble where nobody
really stands out, and I'm including a pre-Wrestler Mickey Rourke and
the late Brad Renfro, who plays the perhaps only likable character, in
Jordan said Ellis was afraid to show up for the movie première at
Sundance, probably predicting the criticism that was to come. I don't
blame him (and I feel for Jordan too since you gotta respect someone
who has the guts to face the honor - and pressure - of having your
movie premiering at Sundance). Although nobody was impolite during the
Q&A, the movie got trashed by the critics afterwards.
I have no idea how well this is gonna do at the box office, although
Amber Heard's constant nudity will certainly catch some attention and
give her lots of job offers (too bad her acting skills are still rather
poor). I wouldn't call "The Informers" a terrible movie, just a very
forgettable one. The final scene (not the conclusion, but the very
final scene itself) is disturbing, sad and yes, memorable; but by then
you feel like you wasted too much time with something that's been done
several times, and much better, before. 4/10.