Archive for November 28th, 2009

The Informant & A Serious Man

I don’t have time to post full reviews on a couple of films I have seen this week so here are mini reviews and a few thoughts on The Informant & A Serious Man

The Informant!

Set in the’90s, Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) works for a large agrichemical firm. He is forced by his employers to liaise with the FBI in an effort to catch an industrial spy and an employee of a competitor who is trying to extort money from them. During the investigation he reveals that the company and many of its competitors are colluding in price-fixing. As the two year investigation unfolds we soon realise that Whitacre is not as honest as he makes out and is a somewhat unreliable witness.

On the whole the film is not as good as two films I can’t help comparing it to. Michael Mann’s The Insider is a much better film and is more substantial and George Clooney’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (executive produced by Steven Soderbergh) is much funnier. The thing that really elevates the film is Matt Damon’s great performance including his quirky voiceover. He is really proving to be a good and surprisingly versatile actor.

All in all it is a quirky and enjoyable film that is well worth seeing if not my favourite film of recent weeks.

A Serious Man

Such is the great breadth of their work you never know what you are going to get from the Coen brothers. Unsurprisingly A Serious Man proves to be one of their most bizarre films of recent years, Surprisingly however it is also one of their most engaging.

The plot is surprisingly simple and revolves around Larry Gopnik’s (Michael Stuhlbarg), the head of a dysfunctional-family (are all movie families dysfunctional?), everything seems to be going wrong for him and not only does he not know why he seems powerless to stop it. The acting from the largely unknown cast is impeccable and the film is beautifully shot as always with the Coen’s. It lacks the gravity of No Country for Old Men and the laugh out load comedy of some of their earlier films but is immensely watchable.

A lot of the film including the cliff-hanger ending will have you scratching your head but that’s no bad thing!


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