* * *
Good, lighthearted fun with a great performance by Matt Damon.
Director Steven Soderbergh has turned the true story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in US history into a cheeky and wry comedy. Making the most of an outrageous story, this approach also creates some confusion as to what is actually going on.
Based on the book of the same name by Kurt Eichenwald,
is the far-fetched story of the intriguing Mark Whitacre, a bio-engineer and vice-president of Fortune 500 agricultural company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), who finds himself embroiled in a price fixing scam over a product called lysine.
A rising star in the company, and encouraged by his wife Ginger (Lynskey), he volunteers information about this multinational price fixing conspiracy to FBI special agents who convince Whitacre to help them collect evidence by recording and filming his work meetings.
He agrees, and naively thinks once the investigation is over he will not only be regarded as a hero for blowing the whistle on his workmates, but will be granted a promotion.
It's soon apparent that determining Whitacre's reality from fantasy is a problem, and that he's is a much more complex character than anyone imagined. Unfortunately Whitacre's loose regard for the facts rubs off on the film as a whole, and it's confusing trying to understand how it all transpired.
Soderbergh's lighthearted approach - complete with 70s-styled schmaltzy Marvin Hamlisch soundtrack and a narrated collection of Whitacre's random thoughts spread throughout - give it an offbeat flavour. It sure ain't
The Insider II
. But it doesn't quite work and, no matter how convincing Damon is with his dodgy moustache and pot belly,
isn't quite as funny as it thinks it is, or you hope it would be.
Matt Damon, Melanie Lynskey
M (offensive language)