BASED ON A TATTLE-TALE.
An executive (Matt Damon) at an Illinois-based company informs the FBI of a price-fixing scheme, but the agency’s new, naive liaison has surprises up his sleeve. The somewhat true story of Mark Whitacre who became an informant but eventually also a burden to the FBI gets a laidback treatment by Steven Soderbergh; Marvin Hamlisch’s score also lends the film a breezy touch. A compelling story, set in effectively drab, beige office landscapes; at the center of it stands Damon, delivering a very convincing performance, both in terms of his outer transformation and in the way he portrays Whitacre’s self-deception.
2009-U.S. 108 min. Color. Produced by Kurt Eichenwald, Jennifer Fox, Gregory Jacobs, Michael Jaffe, Howard Braunstein. Directed and photographed by Steven Soderbergh. Screenplay: Scott Z. Burns. Book: Kurt Eichenwald. Music: Marvin Hamlisch. Cast: Matt Damon (Mark Whitacre), Scott Bakula (Brian Shepard), Joel McHale (Bob Herndon), Melanie Lynskey, Rick Overton, Tom Papa… Patton Oswalt.
Last word: “Traditionally, voiceover is there to hold your hand. But this is misdirection. It was [screenwriter Scott Burns’] idea to have the narration bear no relation to what you’re looking at, so that it didn’t help explain things. I was very taken with that. Tangentiality is an aspect of bipolar behavior that’s the most common. What’s fascinating is how closely it mimics Mark’s own thought process. What gives it the spin in the film is the placement, the fact that it happens in the middle of scenes in which he’s talking about something else.” (Soderbergh, Huffington Post)