encapsulates the story of Mark Whitacre and his crusade against white-collar crime. Whitacre, who was president of Bio-Products at the Archer Daniels Midland company at the time, turns whistle-blower for the FBI. Though first told in Kurt Eichenwald’s , Steven Soderbergh fashions a new and intriguing comedy film from the plot of Eichenwald’s rather journalistic book.
As might be inferred, the movie takes its title from the actions of Mark Whitacre during his tenure gathering intelligence from inside Archer Daniels Midland.
The FBI, taking interest in Whitacre after a phone tapping incident, have no idea of what is going on until Whitacre lets the cat out of the bag.
The audience is then whisked on an adventure into the life of an informant. Taping the dirty deeds of the corporate heads for three years, Whitacre successfully gathers the information necessary to expose one of the largest price-fixing scams of all time.
However, there are some hang-ups that are revealed at the end of the investigation.
No longer the hero, the lies come crashing down upon Whitacre’s head as he scrambles to dig himself out of an enormous hole. The story is interesting, although it doesn’t seem to hold much room for humor.
Much like the character of Mark Whitacre, the movie derives most of its comedy from a few random moments that really spice up the story. For those who might wish to be more informed as to this film’s overall atmosphere, look no further than .
The general feelings of these two films are quite similar. Both were marketed by demonstrating their comedic moments and involved one man against a larger organization. Both movies sought to make larger points about society.
Although in the audience will not find much political commentary, the release of this film during a time of economic turmoil can hardly be seen as coincidental.
To continue on this path, I cannot say ranks well enough to combat in the field of entertainment, but Matt Damon’s role as Mark Whitacre certainly makes it a dark horse.
It was hard not to concentrate on the awkward protagonist, making it a difficult task to praise or rebuke the other, almost unnoticeable, actors and actresses. The set and direction seemed a bit muddled as well.
I found that I gleaned a setting from the ‘70s in the cinematic style, costumes and physical sets and in the “totally groovy” font announcing the dates to be in the early ‘90s. It was a bit off-putting – as if Sonderbergh was trying to make a convoluted reference to some bygone time of corporate high life.
is not an extremely competent film, but in this rather dry time for comedies it just might be the best moviegoers can do for a moderate number of new laughs.