Review by Jack Foley
THE novels of Bret Easton Ellis have delivered some of the most provocative films of recent years, such as American Psycho and Rules of Attraction. Unfortunately, The Informers doesn’t count among them.
Rather, Gregor Jordan’s film is a tedious exercise in bored excess that’s populated by rich, unsympathetic characters and morally dubious situations.
Set in LA in 1984, the multi-strand narrative follows the lives of numerous characters as they attempt to navigate the hedonism that comes with privileged excess.
The older generation includes a philandering movie mogul (Billy Bob Thornton), his distanced wife (Kim Basinger), his mistress (Winona Ryder) and a child-abducting loser (Mickey Rourke), while the younger generation is represented by the movie mogul’s drug-dealer son (Jon Foster), his promiscuous girlfriend (Amber Heard), and a stoned British rocker (Mel Raido) with a taste for under-age girls… among many others.
Sadly, none of the characters warrant any emotional investment and many of the situations they find themselves in never get resolved. The film sort of meanders it’s way through to a downbeat conclusion that plays heavily on the cost involved in such wayward lifestyles, be it Aids or isolation, while presumably serving as a timely metaphor for some of today’s ills.
Jordan has suggested that finding the tone was more important than necessarily following a classic linear structure, but the result – while capturing the vacuous nature of the ’80s well – is a completely uninvolving mess.
Of the performances, Basinger and the late Brad Renfro [in his final role] emerge with most credit, but few of the big name ensemble really get the time or script needed to flesh out their characters beyond caricature.
All of which makes The Informers even more frustrating given the talent and possibilities involved. It never comes close to being an engaging, or even worthwhile, use of the audiences’ time.
Running time: 98mins
UK DVD Release: November 9, 2009