The Informers (2008) Poster

(2008)

User Reviews

Review this title
95 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
A misunderstood film
beckeriffic3 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Firstly, I'm shocked by the amount of negative reviews I've seen for this film. It seems as though everyone has missed the point entirely.

THIS FILM IS A SATIRE. So saying it's a glorification of sex, drugs, and decadence is absurd.

Second of all, this film is not about plot - it's a character study.

Yes, this is a film about the selfish, narcissistic L.A. scene and the people who inhabit it. And no, this film is not attempting to glorify the lifestyle these characters lead. The film is a warning, a modern morality tale. This film could have just as easily been set in ancient Rome. In the book, it's clear that Christie is HIV positive, and of course, the implication is that everyone she's slept with, as well as everyone that has slept with everyone she has is positive as well. Hardly a glorification of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Everyone in this film is lonely, desperate, and lost and will most likely soon be dead. A sequel to this film would depict the characters are wasting away from AIDS in their expensive private hospital rooms. Nothing good comes from the way these characters act, so how can this be a glorification?

Ellis, like in American Psycho and Gramorama, is not trying to glamorize this lifestyle, he's attempting to satirize and criticize the people it creates. I'm frankly surprised that all can't see that. And The Informers does this very well. It shows us people that are difficult to like and even easier to hate. Towards the end of the film, the viewer isn't sure if these characters are to be pitied or laughed at. We're not sure if we should be appalled or fascinated. And that's the point. The Informers" is not a film about "sex, drugs, and rock and roll, European-style" (as an actor who plays Graham from the movie so eloquently puts it in the commentary). Rather, it's a film about beautiful people doing awful things. Why? To hi-light the moral decay that exists in our culture. To shock us into change. Bret Easton Ellis, a self-professed "moralist", is making a statement; beauty is only skin-deep and decadence will lead to your downfall.

Also, despite the social commentary, this is one hell of a beautiful film.

Perhaps what is so disturbing for people and why this film is so harshly criticized is because of what it does. It holds a mirror up to the viewer and you won't necessarily like what you see. There are no heroes in this film. Only moral decay, desperation, apathy. People who lack in a moral compass and need guidance. There is no catharsis and no "happy ending." There is no resolution. You are only left with your thoughts.

At its heart, this interlocking web of shorts is really about the complex and fragile dynamics between fathers and sons. As the actor who plays Tim says it's a "relationship piece" and I agree.

Now, that said, being a big fan of Ellis' work myself, this film disappoints as the "adaptation" it claims to be. For one thing, in the book, Bryan Metro is a vampire, and there is no suggestion of this in the film. Also, the film downplays the effect of AIDS on the characters, which is of course the main "concequence" of these character's grotesquely decadent lifestyles. In the film, it is implied that Christie is dying of AIDS, while in the book it is made clear. arguably the antagonist, its her decadence that brings about the demise of everyone around her.

Perhaps it's this line that encapsulates the film in a way; "you can't make it in this town unless you're really willing to do some awful things. And you know, I'm willing." And this is the beauty of film. WE would never do such things, but it's thrilling to watch these "fake" people on screen do them.

The irony - a common device in Ellis' work - is how these beautiful people are doing awful things to each other. It's interesting that the director said that for this film he was inspired by Italian movies from the 1970s, depicting beautiful people in terrible situations. The themes of decadence, hedonism and the price of that lifestyle fit well with the ominous soundtrack and dark tone the film used.

"The Informers" is more than another 80s noir period film with a killer soundtrack featuring beautiful naked young people doing drugs. That is the surface of this film. The purpose, the "message" dare I say, goes far deeper than that and is based on how you choose to interpret this film and the book it is based on. We are not meant to laugh at these people, despite how lost and clueless they are, we're meant to pity them, and loathe the parents who made them the way they are. As Graham tearfully explains to Martin, he needs someone to tell him "what's good and what's bad" and asks how he's supposed to know if no one ever told him.

On the surface, The Informers is a fascinating film on its own merit. It falls short as a successful adaptation of Ellis' book, though.
34 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
I have to give this movie some credit
zeppelinfan77728 August 2009
First let me start off by saying that I am a fan of the book, which is now one of my favorite books. So I was very excited about the movie. I honestly liked the movie. I do not think that it is a great movie or worthy of anything, but its not horrible, like everyone else thinks it is.

I'm not sure if people hate on this movie because they think the acting sucks, or because they think there is no plot line. I can agree on both parts. One, there were certain actors in this movie whose acting was simply bad. But then there were others, such as Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke, Jon Foster, Mel Raido, who played Bryan Metro, who all rocked. Two, there were aspects in the book that could have made the movie better, such as not taking Jamie the vampire completely out of the movie and a much better ending. But the other thing to remember is that this is not the book, its a movie based off of the book and for what they used in the movie is pretty accurate. My advice would be to read the book before seeing the movie. In doing so, I think the movie brought the characters from the book to life.

I also feel that another reason why people didn't like this movie is because all of the supernatural elements were taken out. I will gladly admit that I would have loved for there to have been vampires and aliens in this movie.

And lastly, and this is the main reason why I think people hate this movie or just don't get it, The Informers is about scummy people in the early 80's in Los Angeles and focuses on how they are all connected in some way. THAT'S IT. And the movie portrays it perfectly in my opinion. There isn't much else that you could do with the movie when that's all the story is about. People also need to know ahead of time that you are not going to like these people either, minus the select few who are not entirely heartless. Honestly, it's a good, gritty story.

If you are like me and you like movies about sex, drugs, the 80's, Los Angeles, and greed, then this movie is worth seeing. I feel that this movie is a documentary on the 80's. You want 80's, this movie delivers 80's. Granted the movie wont beat out the book, the movie is still good.
28 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
I think many missed the point (spoliers!)
sir-richard-129 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Hey all, I read many comments and I think a lot of you missed the point.

Yes the ending was sudden...very! But you need to look at the time this was filmed. Whilst I cant tie every major role in with my hypothesis...here goes: This was filmed at the time when AIDS was unknowingly ripping through various populations. They make reference to it at the start of the film with a news clip in the background and the rash - which ties in with the woman at the end of the film.

The woman on the beach at the end of the movie had AIDS - that much is clear. The rapid ending represented not only her likely rapid departure, but a twisted entry into the fact that while the movie was ending, the problem was just beginning for many other characters in the movie.

That woman is the key, because if you back-track through all the sexual relations in the film (who slept with whom), you will quickly understand that she was the key to spreading AIDS to many of the main characters. The whole point of the movie was that it was a tragedy - here she was dying, and a dozen or so others were also inflicted but didn't know it because little was known of AIDS at the time, and they were all separated by degrees of separation - other than sleeping with her or someone who slept with her.

The blond spiky haired guy she shared a bed with - he gave it to Bassinger's character as he was sleeping with her. Bassinger gave it to her (sort of) ex-husband because although they didn't sleep with each other, she injected him with a syringe (ie Im assuming one she recently used as she seemed to have it on hand!) near the end.

The blonde woman also probably gave it to the guy that really liked her and was sharing the bed with the spiky haired guy and the blonde infected woman. And so on, and so on.

Watch the film in that light, and you quickly realize that the intertwining of many (maybe not all) of the stories and characters was around the passing on of AIDS and there was silent deadly link between many of them.

Im not sure about the video star - Id have to watch it again to see if he had a link back to someone likely carrying the virus. If he did, it was interesting that he had this thing about sleeping with young people....and its possible the young girl who appears to have been abducted by the child stealing guy is one of the young women the star slept with, so he was tied up in it too.

I am not sure how the man and his son in Hawaii fits in.

Well, thats my theory!
41 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
All This Talent......But It Did Not Amount To Much!
prodbabies24 April 2009
Well I just saw this film first thing Friday (opening). I was seated near a gentlemen who was having quite a reaction to every scene, and in one scene (not a good one for the acting - but I will get there in a minute) he literally started waving his arms and shaking his head. I look over and the man was tearing up and I though he was nearly about to breakdown in full tears. Seeing such a powerful reaction to some very early scenes in the movie, I thought to myself, "Maybe this is the guy who wrote it??" The novel I thought, unaware at the time who wrote the screenplay. So immediately upon my return, I googled Bret Easton Ellis pics and reviewed many photos. I would bet my life it was him next to me today. Hair a little longer and darker than in some photos, but same nose, and face and exact same eyes. Again he was right next to me so I was not seeing him from across the theater. I asked (whispering) if he was OK. He said yes, then a moment later (after another reaction) quietly got up and moved to the back of the theater. A while later he exit in the middle of the film.

Now, for the film itself. This is no "Less Than Zero" which would be the closest genre comparison of the Ellis filmography.

While some of the veteran actors gave decent performances the material seemed more shallow than the LA socialites the film was following. But after watching the film I suspect this is much more the fault of the directing than anyone else. It takes the proper hand and understanding of Ellis material to make it work on the stage or film. Unfortunately, two of the lesser performances came from actors we see much more in the film. Foster and Raido seemed like actors "acting" like the types rather then being the types. While the veteran actors seemed to add depth to their performances (beyond the material presented) these two "acted" on a very shallow level, as though trying to imitate the type of person they thought they were playing. Apparently giving their character little thought.

The movie sets up many broken and damage relationships and a couple of potentially heated situations, before it suddenly ends.....What??? The entire film ends up being a slice of life (many tragic life's) type of film, with little story or payoff as the ending comes abruptly. At the end I could care less about there problems or issues and the story and directing doesn't help those feelings.

Now I am not a person who goes to films to see naked women (a little to old to make that the priority and was unaware of this one), but when the movie was over all I could think was "at least Amber Heard was naked / half-naked a lot and she looked good!" In the lala land of skinny, to outrageously bony women, this one has nice curves. But its sad when you leave a film thinking "where was the story" and you know you will only remember the girl who looked good in "THAT FILM" cause the title and film itself will be forgotten quickly! Now I have not read the Ellis novel, but he did help write the screenplay. Based on his reaction, I can't help to feel this film is not what he imagined it would be. It certainly was not up to what Hollywood has been able to do with some of his other works.

To Ellis (as I am sure it was), remember the feeling you had while watching the film. And make sure the next time you sell your story to Hollywood to get paid enough money so you can take it a little easier when the "Filmmakers" butcher your work (who likely did not want you interfering with them cause THEY know how to make films, not some writer)! Or in this case, they at least produced a very unsatisfying film.
108 out of 165 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A basic lowdown on The Informers
ctg072427 April 2009
I thought I would see this movie with a lot of thoughts running through my head when it ended. That did not really happen. There's not really anything to be said about the story when it finished. The reason is that it was not a story. It was just things happening. There wasn't a beginning, middle or end, which is required for dramatic attachment to a movie. Scenes simply played out for a couple hours.

The Informers is not as terrible as most people on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes make it out to be. At the same time, it isn't a good movie. If you want to see it the way I wanted to, go ahead and see it. I don't need to talk you out of it. Just remember, this is Bret Easton Ellis. The characters are shallow and their arcs are difficult to pinpoint. Nonetheless, some of you may be able to relate to the things going on.

On a final note, there is some really decent cinematography and good acting by a good number of the cast. The entire movie is very intimate, so don't take a prude friend with you when you see it.
83 out of 127 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Informed but never entertained
lautaro_alvarez199018 September 2009
The informers is not a bad movie, but it is definitely not a movie you would like to see twice. Various stories are told and lives are exposed in this film but nothing shown really gets to the viewer. It's main aim is to show the very essence of some of the luxurious lives of California big shots at the end of the 80s.

While intensive drug abuse, cheap rock n' roll and sex is going on the director shows confrontational situations within families, adolescents that have everything and nothing at the same time and Micky Roorke, that was probably in this film as a source of information about the 80s cocaine as the new trend and career downfall. No complains with K. Basinger and Billy Bob though there is no mayor performance in the cast. Script could have been much better and it's far from original.

There is literally no need for anyone to watch this film unless you want to see the dark side of fame and Hollywood which is definitely a cliché.
31 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Lovely, Economical, Barebones Tragedy
endymion825 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I haven't commented on a film on IMDb in years but this movie seems to be getting mostly slammed so I feel a need to log one for other side because I am definitely a fan.

I'm going to talk about the movie as a whole, so consider this your **************SPOILERS*********************************** warning.

I can see why some people wouldn't like this movie. It's definitely not a comedy and it's definitely not mainstream. The majority of the characters are not likable, though most of them are sympathetic- which is what I think bothers so many audience members: you can't automatically hate Graham, Les, Christie, Laura, Carole, etc. because you pity them, and maybe even empathize with them. And that is a feeling most people don't want to feel, especially at the movies, where we have been led to believe we should always expect characters we want to relate to, and a few hours of escape from reality.

This movie isn't an escape. It's glitzy and polished, it's full of beautiful people, but that's the lure that gets you into the trap. And this movie is a trap: it's about how there is no escape because life doesn't end just because the credits role and the things you do and are done to you are going to be with you forever. So choose wisely- or at the very least, humanely. That's the lesson Graham is supposed to learn in this film. The ending is ambiguous as to if he learns it or not. Either way, it's not a lesson most of us want to be confronted with, especially on a night out, and it's really not something we want to be confronted with by a movie only to have the movie fail to then tell us what to think by having a clear cut resolution for the character.

There is a lot of bile thrown at this film for it's lack of morality but I actually find the film very moral: the idea of "good" is integral to the story and characters. It just never gets defined. Which is true for most people in the real world too, unless they have subscribed to some notion of "good" outside of themselves- i.e. religion, the law, etc. The people in the INFORMERS have been placed outside of the usual social constructs of good, however, because they are famous (The Rock Star), wealthy (William and Laura), beautiful (Graham, Martin, Christie), losers (Jack and his uncle), observers (Carole) or liars (Tim) and so now they must struggle to find a new morality- which is hard when you're living in a society that doesn't appreciate thinking for yourself and if anything encourages everyone to look, act and think the same. There is a reason why almost all the outsiders in the movie are brunettes. There is also a reason why they are almost always the most thoughtful, sympathetic people in the story (Raymond, Rachel, Nina, and even Susan is clearly a bottle blonde starting to let her roots show). This movie is about people who have been conforming/buying into the game, but who are waking up to realize (mostly too late) what they may have lost for doing so. Some of them are even trying to warn us. That's where the title comes from.

The technical parts of the movie are hard to fault. It looks beautiful and the dialogue and scenes move with a sleek economy, reduced to the bare bones of what each character, scene, story needs. Perhaps people don't realize this is a drama because it's not overblown like most Hollywood dramas. There are no big speeches. There are no tears. There are few breakdowns. But there often aren't in real life, especially amongst people who are not good at being in touch with their feelings. And if these people were good at being in touch with their feelings, chances are the stuff that happens to them, wouldn't be happening.

The movie isn't flawless. There is a scene between Rachel and Les in the book that I would have loved to see included. Carole's story feels a bit too abbreviated and could have used one more scene of closure. Susan's escape on the train from LA would have been a nice way to bring a bit more balance to the bleakness of the film. A male on male kiss would have been nice, though I applaud the film for being as up front as it was with the bisexuality and in the book there are no gay sex scenes so I can understand the choice to avoid them in the movie- especially if you consider the implication that any tenderness between Graham and Martin is something they are hoping to ignore themselves. In the end, though, these flaws are really just a wish list because I wanted to see more of this story and these people; there are no missteps in the film itself, from my perspective. And maybe it's best that we don't get more; as the final image of Christie on the beach, waiting for death, tells us: ignorance is often its own kind of bliss.
60 out of 91 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
I tried to watch this but....
scosborn23 August 2009
Let me get one thing straight. There are very few movies I won't sit through. No amount of shock or horror or immorality or amorality or even cheesiness will deter me. Practically the only thing that will is poor film making. The type that is lazy and bland. Mostly I manage to avoid these type of thing by never watching films with Vince Vaughan but once in a while you let your guard down. I could claim it was Billy Bob but it was probably Winona. What can i say? I am weak.

This film has nothing to offer and nothing to say. The bass monotone of the soundtrack that washes over the disparate and poorly written open 15-20 minutes tries to imply a threatening atmosphere of doom or something but you cannot imply meaning without there being meaning. There was more to the eighties than bad hair and depeche mode. We already know that blonde people are shallow and sex without love is a meaningless experience ("but as meaningless experiences go its one of.....").

Films are difficult to make. But there are a few simple rules that will help. Establish character and motivation. Give the audience something to care about or at least intrigue them with something unfamiliar and new. Don't pretend you have said something when you haven't yet. Try to earn the respect of the audience with good dialogue. Multi-layered narratives can work but weak trivial garbage on top of trivial garbage is still ... well you can work it out.

Of course i might be wrong. Some people seemed to like it. But then a lot of people thought shoulder pads were a good idea. And some still do.
123 out of 198 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Incoherent, depressing mess
hall89525 July 2014
Past film adaptations of Bret Easton Ellis novels have been well received. So, with Ellis on board as screenwriter, you could see where stars like Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke and Winona Ryder would have been attracted to The Informers. Unfortunately for all involved, including Ellis who would pretty much disown the movie after its release, the script was handed to director Gregor Jordan. And Jordan made a complete mess of it. He wanted to take things in a darker direction. Well, he succeeded in making it dark. He didn't succeed in anything else. He ended up making a truly awful movie.

The film unfolds in early 1980s Los Angeles. It's a sex, drugs and rock and roll story. For brevity's sake, let's just say that everyone is sleeping with everyone else. That's pretty much accurate. It's an ensemble piece with a whole bunch of characters, none of whom you actually end up caring about. All these characters have their own stories which are in some cases loosely intertwined, in some cases not intertwined at all and thus ultimately pointless. Thornton and Basinger just mail in their performances, they're totally lifeless. Rourke's character is a waste of time, he's only in one of those completely pointless subplots. Ryder really has only a bit part. These older stars may draw the attention but the film's story focuses more on the younger generation. Nobody in this younger crowd stands out as being particularly interesting, none of the performances rise above the mundane. They have some sex, then we cut back to one of the other story lines, then we come back to them again and they have more sex. If nothing else at least Amber Heard, playing a young woman who gets passed around like a used handkerchief, looks spectacular. So there's that.

The only character who comes across as truly sympathetic is a young doorman, Jack, played by Brad Renfro. If any performer comes away from this film with any credit at all it's Renfro, playing a guy struggling to deal with the shady doings of his uncle, the Rourke character. Unfortunately Renfro's performance largely goes for naught as this story really doesn't tie into the main plot at all. Honestly though saying this film has a main plot is probably giving it too much credit. There is no real story tying this thing together. Too much time is wasted on characters who serve no purpose. There's a drugged-out rock singer who likes to sleep with young girls. There's a guy on the world's most awkward vacation in Hawaii with his dad. What do these characters have to do with anything? Nothing. Nothing at all. The film is just a jumbled, largely incoherent, mess. And then it just ends. No resolution. All these stories, no endings. On the one hand you're grateful it's over because you certainly don't want to watch this film any longer. On the other hand you're left feeling insulted that you wasted any time at all watching this pointless film which was ultimately going nowhere.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
It's shiny, it's sleazy, but it's no Easton Ellis
Benedict_Cumberbatch2 February 2009
I had good expectations about "The Informers". Being a fan of Bret Easton Ellis' writing, knowing that he co-wrote the script himself, and with a cast that includes names like Billy Bob Thornton and Mickey Rourke, it had everything to be a new cult favourite, right? Wrong. I'm not familiar with Gregor Jordan's previous work ("Two Hands", "Buffalo Soldiers"), and given his speech before the film première at Sundance on January 22nd, I don't doubt his good intentions about this project. Unfortunately, a good movie isn't made just of good intentions. As in most of Ellis' work, the protagonists are a bunch of shallow, pretty rich kids (Jon Foster, Lou Taylor Pucci, Amber Heard, among others) and their just as shallow elderly peers/parents (Kim Basinger, who played Foster's lover in "The Door in the Floor", now plays his mother, who's depressed because of her husband's – Billy Bob Thornton – affair with the confused newswoman terribly played by Winona Ryder; less serious is Chris Isaak as Pucci's womanizing father, who seemed to have fun playing his character), in 1983 Los Angeles.

Jordan said during the Q&A that this is a movie about Los Angeles, and that Robert Altman's "Short Cuts" was an inspiration for it. It's light years away from the depth, originality and brilliance of "Short Cuts", though. Jordan doesn't know how to direct this sort of material; it pales in comparison to Mary Harron's insanely secure hand over "American Psycho", also based on an Ellis novel. "The Informers" doesn't even engage the audience like the flawed, but fairly entertaining "The Rules of Attraction". It tries too hard to be a cool movie and fails, almost always, miserably. The overall acting is pretty mediocre, although Isaak and Pucci bring some life to their characters. Foster, who was great in "The Door in the Floor", shows that he's not yet ready to play a lead (and he didn't even have to carry the movie on his shoulders à la Christian Bale; this is a big ensemble where nobody really stands out, and I'm including a pre-Wrestler Mickey Rourke and the late Brad Renfro, who plays the perhaps only likable character, in the list).

Jordan said Ellis was afraid to show up for the movie première at Sundance, probably predicting the criticism that was to come. I don't blame him (and I feel for Jordan too since you gotta respect someone who has the guts to face the honor - and pressure - of having your movie premiering at Sundance). Although nobody was impolite during the Q&A, the movie got trashed by the critics afterwards.

I have no idea how well this is gonna do at the box office, although Amber Heard's constant nudity will certainly catch some attention and give her lots of job offers (too bad her acting skills are still rather poor). I wouldn't call "The Informers" a terrible movie, just a very forgettable one. The final scene (not the conclusion, but the very final scene itself) is disturbing, sad and yes, memorable; but by then you feel like you wasted too much time with something that's been done several times, and much better, before. 4/10.
79 out of 132 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Not a mainstream movie.
dylanesque-046 January 2010
OK, so I can see a lot of negative reviews for this movie, some people giving it only 1 star which is clearly not a fair review but some sort of angry attack. Firstly this is not a typical style of movie. It is much more in the art house genre, with glimpses in to lives, rather than a clear cut story all nicely played out, like so many predictable, pretentious movies. The stories are all very interesting, as well as very original in an era of highly borrowed themes. This is one movie that really draws the viewer in with great atmosphere, incredible cast, great soundtrack and cool locations. I think this movie will probably only appeal to a mature audience, and I don't mean age mature. The best way to view this movie is to really chill and don't be expecting some sort of standard formula. Do this and it will really draw you in to some unusual moments of emotional intrigue.
21 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
I'm not sure Ellis should be allowed to write about the 1980s anymore
MBunge12 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I can't call this movie utterly worthless because it does feature a beautiful and gloriously naked Amber Heard in several different scenes, as well as a couple of veteran performers who are fun to watch. Taken as a whole, however, I've gotten more enjoyment out of reading the ingredients on the side of a box of cereal.

Set in 1983 Los Angeles, this film is based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis. But unlike Less Than Zero, an Ellis-based movie that was roughly contemporaneous to the era it was depicting, The Informers is a dry and as cold and as distant as an archaeological dig or a scientist studying something under a microscope. It also has all the subtlety of an incontinent badger, tossing awful 1980s fashions and hairstyles in your face and throwing up a 80s pop culture reference roughly ever 4 minutes. I nearly stopped the DVD before this thing was halfway through and did something more useful with my time. Like clipping toenails or plucking out some back hair.

This is one of those stories where we're all supposed to learn something by looking at the miserable, pathetic lives of a bunch of tangentially connected people. Graham Sloan (Jon Foster) is an aimless, drug-dealing college kid who spends his time either having sex with his girlfriend Christie (Amber Heard) and his best friend Martin (Austin Nichols) or lamenting the emptiness of his existence. Martin one of Ellis' soulless douchebags and Christie is basically just a hot piece of ass that winds up being another 80s pop culture reference. Graham's father (Billy Bob Thornton) is a movie producer that's trying to get back together with Graham's mother (Kim Basinger), even though he's still hung up on a local newswoman (Winona Ryder).

But wait, there's more! Graham's other friend Tim (Lou Taylor Pucci) spends the movie in Hawaii with a father (Chris Isaak) he feels nothing but contempt for. We also get the tale of a burned out rock star (Mel Raldo) whose wife is also sleeping with Graham's friend Martin. And we get to see the front desk clerk at Christie's apartment (Brad Renfro) get mixed up in a kidnapping and sex slavery deal with Peter (Mickey Rourke), a scary dude and the clerk's father figure.

As mentioned previously, the good of this movie consists of three things.

1. The nude and lovely Heard.

2. Kim Basinger's performance as a woman on the edge of emotional collapse. She only gets one scene where she gets to yell and carry on, but the seething turmoil she keeps going under the skin of Graham's mom is something to see. For an actress who was never much more than a face in her prime, Basinger is aging quite gracefully as both a woman and a thespian.

3. Getting to experience Mickey Rourke's charisma on screen. Whatever that indefinable "it" is that some people have and some don't, Rourke has it in spades. It's too bad that so many years of various forms of self-abuse have left Rourke so freakish-looking that there will never be that many more good roles for him. He's barely more than a cameo here, which is what his career will largely be from now on…unless he starts doing a lot of science-fiction.

Beyond that, and some good work in a bad role by the late Brad Renfro, the rest of The Informers is pedantic rubbish. There's no point to these characters, their perversions or their suffering. Billy Bob Thornton looks like he's acting under the influence of Prozac. Winona Ryder appears to have taken this job as a form of extended community service. The younger members of the cast have the appeal of frozen slabs of beef, which may be intentional but remains unappetizing. All of the disparate plot threads resolve themselves exactly the way you expect them to, occasionally doing so with a character explaining what the resolution is supposed to mean so the audience doesn't miss it. It's enough of a struggle to get through a stupid film. It's almost too much to bear when that stupid film thinks I'm stupider than it.

This is yet another one of those movies that leaves you wondering "Who the bleep thought this was a good idea?" It's not like the name of Bret Easton Ellis guarantees any box office or critical acclaim. There had to have been a lot of money, drugs and sexual favors exchanged to get this film made. Unless someone is willing to give you money, drugs or do that thing your significant other won't do, stay away from The Informers.
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Classic, delicious Bret Easton Ellis
sioenroux12 August 2009
"The Informers" is vacant, isolated and angst-ridden. Much like the '80s, it has lots of placid exteriors, broken interiors, hot bodies, vast wealth and the search for meaning.

As is usual for Ellis characters, though, no one has the equipment to find any meaning. From the beginning, it's obvious the hunt will be fruitless. These people have been so badly socialized by their alienating culture of wealth that they often can't even find an emotional response to their inability to properly feel.

Also par for the course is the easily placed blame. Parents so wrapped up in themselves that their children's existence barely registers are hardly fit to bestow morals or wisdom or emotions or anything else. Privilege has its costs. When anything is attainable, meaning evaporates. Everyone is adrift, and it's everyone's fault.

This is a movie that will likely anger, disgust or bore those not familiar with Ellis' milieu, although many of us who lived through the '80s know what he's on about. It doesn't lead anywhere, just like the characters' internal compasses. A couple of times the dialogue felt like it was trying too hard to get the point across, where if you weren't getting it, you're too stupid to be worth telling. I don't remember the book banging you on the head that way, but maybe it did.

This is not a pleasant movie, so don't make it a date night. It is a lovely, enchanting cultural study of detachment and amorality. But again, it also is everyone's fault. Self-indulgence isn't attractive and doesn't engender pity. When Graham pleads, "I need someone to tell me what is good, OK? And I need someone to tell me what's bad," you can't feel anything for him.

He's lost, they're all lost, there's no hope.
36 out of 60 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Enough with the hating!!
ocknights7124 April 2009
"The Informers" is a compelling film that goes into the lives of a few inhabitants of 1983 Los Angeles. These characters all have one common feature, the absence of personal morals in their lives. As their lives have sudden changes they learn more about themselves and others.

After watching this movie I sat in the theater for a couple minutes to comprehend what i just saw. What i realized was that every story teaches a different lesson. The characters were not as far-fetched as many people are saying. This movie is not as extreme as people believe it is. I think that the film did lake some comedic relief and tended to be too serious which can make it difficult to gain interest. But, if your like me, you will always find something interesting in movies.

And also, after watching the film, unlike many critics are saying, this film actually taught me something, if not a few things. One particular scene, which might have been hard to catch, had a very distinct climax in which self realization is established. The movie ends with a pretty memorable scene that is pretty clear.

Overall, acting wasn't that bad, Billy Bob Thorton i believe was the best in the cast. A few characters could have been polished up a bit though. The film seems pretty accurate in depicting 80's as well.

This movie is a good watch, not a must watch. Not something to be watched for someone who is narrow minded. While it did lake some elements of a memorable film, it wasn't as good as a film like Crash for instance, But definitely worth my time and money.
71 out of 127 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
this movie absolutely sucks
ralf_milunchup2 September 2009
OK, with the decent cast that this movie has, there is no reason it should suck this bad. The genres listed are crime, drama, and thriller. But it is none of those. Change the genre of this film to gratuitous sex and social drug use, bad movie with 80's soundtrack, and 90 minute AIDs PSA. They are much more accurate.

crime - 1/10. There is a bit of small time drug dealing and a kidnapping that has absolutely nothing to do with the (nonexistent) plot in any way.

drama - 1/10. Drama implies that there is a story and character development. This movie has no protagonist, no antagonist, and worst of all, it has no premise. For any movie, one should be able to say one sentence that describes what happens in the movie and that is known as the premise. I doubt that anyone who has seen this movie or worked on the production of it can come up with a valid premise for it.

thriller - 0/10. Thriller is used for movies that have you on the edge of your seat and have you guessing about what twists and turns the main character will see next. As I mentioned before, this movie has no main character and no plot to contain twists and turns. At no point during this movie did I feel worried or even care what happened to any character. This was the complete opposite of thriller. Put this in the UNthriller category beside watching paint dry and bellybutton lint.

I hope I saved anybody else from watching this piece of crap.
58 out of 110 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Informers: Revenge of the Sullen
Jonny_Numb4 September 2009
In terms of both faithfulness to their source material and sheer entertainment value, the adaptations of Bret Easton Ellis's notoriously difficult, notoriously nihilistic novels have improved exponentially. Granted, these are tales that (on the surface, at least) do little more than add a smattering of sex, violence, drugs, and general bad behavior to the lives of blonde, vacant teenagers growing up spoiled rotten in the 1980s. Film has come a long way toward "understanding" (if such a thing is possible) and transferring Ellis's stock and trade into something cinematic. Directed by Gregor Jordan (whose name even seems pulled from the author's pages), "The Informers" is as scattered as its source (the screenplay was co-written by Ellis), with barely the bare bones of a cohesive plot–events are only really "connected" by the repeat appearances of its bored, oversexed, and/or strung out protagonists. In a very odd way, I was reminded of Terry Gilliam's "Tideland," a recent example of a film where the viewer's best response is to be swept along unquestioningly by the events that transpire, regardless of how ridiculous or bizarre they may be; "The Informers" begins awkwardly, giving only cursory introductions to barely-distinguishable characters, but eventually affects a lyrical rhythm of its own–Jordan composes countless shots of stunning beauty that are also (quite paradoxically) void of any semblance of humanity. True to Ellis, the characters are sad, pathetic, sadistic, and–above all–lost, searching for a deeper meaning that their hedonistic lifestyle keeps them from attaining. While lacking the biting wit of Ellis's work, "The Informers" will likely connect with the author's niche fans; others will find it as empty and nihilistic and pointless as its characters (which, as several note near the end, is the point exactly).
14 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
More Shallow than the 80's
superscout17 August 2009
I don't know how this movie got made, it is not even a story. I kept waiting for it to start. No arc, no character development. I watch lots of movies and usually find something redeeming. Nothing here except some decent acting and cinematography. I am so surprised at some of the actors in this film that they would decided to waste their talent on a project like this. If someone could explain this film I would love to understand what it was trying to say. Maybe a warning to the youth of today that are starting to behave like those of the eighties? Or possibly it is just an exercise in acting and cinematography? I haven't seen a movie this bad since JCVD's "the quest" and that was actually better. People seriously, watching this movie is worse than being one of the character in it.
72 out of 142 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Existential Nihilism is Real...I know people like these ones.
AMichaelL31 January 2012
I am shocked by the terrible/mediocre reviews. This is an incredibly dense movie masquerading as a bunch of moral-free vignettes. The main thing to take away from this movie is: nothing. There is no discernible meaning to life when lines get blurred. Grant, sort of near the end, tells Martin that when you don't know what is good or bad, you don't know what to do anymore. This sums up this movie perfectly. I know people like this...that is, people who have everything and act like it is nothing. People who are so self-centered and naive that they actually believe their nihilism is justified. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but it is fascinating (for me at least) to watch. Every character is fleshed out pretty well, it is just that the details of their characters are semi-buried. If you watch closely, I think most will find an intimate portrait of bad people (Renfro's character may be the only 'decent' person in the film...and yet he aspires to be like the 'bad guys'...what does this say about our culture? This movie is tragic, but not in the usual way. We are forced to watch characters who have it all and act aloof. I kept thinking throughout the film, a surefire sign something was done right. I can easily imagine myself in the main characters' shoes - so withdrawn (from riches and drugs) from society that good and bad don't even exist anymore. Instead, there is just life - and to them, it sucks.

Yes, there is some to be desired here, but I think this film more than any of the other Easton-Ellis adaptations shows how Brett views the world - as a cold place where those who have it all have nothing, and those who have nothing - still have nothing.

From a film-making standpoint, there was some to be desired, but Gregor Jordan, overall, is an excellent filmmaker. I give this film a 7 for strong visuals (more impacting than the dialogue. usually) and a very realistic look at the philosophy of nihilism.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Sex, Drugs and Rockin' Roll = Destruction
tzybura28 April 2009
Acting was superb but the film was a LOT darker then I expected it to be. My expectations were way off going in. I thought it would be an upbeat film with some edgy scenes and instead I felt like I was living the roller-coaster life of an addict for 2 hours. I feel I am a pretty opened minded person but I think the sex and drugs were over the top and there was enough for 10 films put together. I would have liked to know the characters a little more. It would have been nice to have a little more dialog and less pulls from the bottle, hits form the bong, and group sex scenes. I never felt really connected to any of the characters and I only felt sad for them. I walked out of the theater feeling icky and little depressed so I would not see it again or recommend it.
26 out of 46 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Big steaming pile of crap
nains-116 August 2009
This movie is awful. I think a great actor like BB Thorton will end his career prematurely because of crap like this.

This whole thing makes you dizzy, mad and disgusted at the same time. I will put this flick in the same category with garbage like "Paul Blart Mall Cop".

There is no original or remotely attractive cinematic concept in this steaming pile of crap. A bunch of degenerates (Paris Hilton's type - hump each other and somehow that humping (not even good to pass as a bad soft-core porn)links all characters into a senseless completely moronic story).

Save you time and money and pass on this garbage. It amazes me to see the rating this crap got on IMDb: studio people hard at work here.

Once again: do not lot the actor's names fool you into wasting precious time of your life on this piece of sh*t.

I'd give it a 0 if possible!
30 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
i love movies from the 80's, and i love movies about the 80's
twoods652329 April 2009
wow! there are some really negative comments about this movie. i went to the theater and saw the title not knowing what it was i was intrigued. i called my brother and he had heard of the movie, told me written by less than zero author and told me of the cast. i was excited about it and got tickets. i loved this movie. i love movies that im not sure of whats going to happen and characters that aren't easy to figure out. drugs, sex, great music and messed up people...what more could you ask for? its not a feel good movie by any means, and it leaves you asking some questions. im still thinking about the movie, and i really want to see it again, i cant say that about a lot of films!
29 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Wake me up when it ends...
steve-carmo1 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I'm struggling to push this wheel barrow full of adjectives up a steep hill at the moment, so would you forgive me if I just dump some of them out as I stagger past this film's review section? Let's see, what have I got in here?

Tedious, clichéd, dreary, pointless, clueless, predictable, rambling, pretentious... that's better.

It's LA in the mid 80s and those young (and not so young) beautiful thangs are dropping tabs, sniffing talcum powder laced with cocaine, boozing and grinding their friends, friends' boy/girlfriends, their friends' parents and generally revelling in a life of unrestrained hedonism and vice interspersed with the occasional dip into the mundanity of death, failed relationships and guilt-ridden existential anguish. OK, got that (yawn). And? Oh wait, that's the film. That's it in it's mind numbingly boring entirety.

I sat through 60 mins of what should have been a 10 min recap of the 80s before it slowly dawned on me that there was nothing even vaguely interesting likely to unfold from that point. Oh wait, no, that's not entirely correct; one of the main protagonists had a profoundly deep, mesmerisingly incisive moment of sheer human brilliance which went something along the lines of "what happens when people don't warn us about the bad things in life?"... oh I don't know mate, if you really have to ask that, wear a bell around your neck, go feed on a hillside somewhere and stop your mewling, please.

I fell for this film because the cast reads like a Hall of Fame list but even the likes of Thornton, Basinger, Ryder and Rourke struggled (bravely but unsuccessfully) to make the meagre amount of silk they'd been given stretch over the huge, rancid pigs ear they had dumped on them. This is horrible, craftless film making.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Pass on this one
driverscience26 April 2009
The problem I had with this movie is the script. It was something almost anyone could have written and I found myself not sympathizing with anyone or anything in it. The acting was, of course, quite good but not excellent, considering the actors were capable of so much more. In the end, its just a depressing film about a worn out subject: morality. I guess I wanted something more, something actually clever. I was surprised the rating was so high on IMDb. I suppose because people still believe that if you make a film depressing enough, put enough high quality actors, it's going to be good. The truth being that its very easy to make a powerful impression by showing a glimpse of the lives of dysfunctional people. Its much more film-worthy to craft a drama where one can truly sympathize and relish in the skills of the actors, such as with films as "The Shawshank Redemption" or "The Green Mile." However, this film just left me with a feeling that this was made to satisfy the egos of the actors involved or in an attempt to win an award. So I give 4 of 10 stars for the acting talent and the attempt, but really two thumbs down! This is a pass.
17 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A movie people just don't want to see
SeanBatemanJr15 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This movie's reputation is a good example of herd mentality.

The negative critical reaction to it was so overwhelming, that it even its screenwriter Bret Ellis became more and more critical of the film (although he had his own personal drama while trying to get this project made and really disagreed with director's interpretation).

This movie IS an interpretation of the book it is based on and in my opinion, while it might not be the most entertaining interpretation there can be, it is actually very close to the .

The film creates kind of a static feeling, a feeling of relaxation and being frozen in the moment - and it is the same feeling I've got from the book.

Bret Ellis himself wanted a more active and fast-paced movie, and it probably would have been more entertaining, but also probably farther from source material, for better or worse.

Some people have said the script was supposed to be much funnier and movie is too dark in its tone. Well it is subjective, in my opinion the humor is all there and actually it is even better for the dark humor of the situations and dialogue to amplify the darkness and despair.

In my opinion the movie was hated so much to a large degree because people just don't want to see this more ambiguous material on the screen. They want to see more obvious, spelled out stories, heroes, villains, moral messages, powerful climaxes etc - which are not bad things, there are brilliant movies based on these elements, but they are not be all end all of art.

This film, like the book it is based on, shows, explores, sometimes exaggerates and makes fun of - contrasts and conflicts of life, ambiguity of different life situations. What makes both the film and the book interesting is they avoid a lot of the more fake and unnatural literary devices like clear and powerful dramatic conclusions, idealized characters, forced plot.

And people generally don't like this. They want a more clear "heroes" or "villains", they want plot to move quickly, film to have a clear message etc.

But the most interesting thing about this film is there is no clear message like "Drugs are bad, go to school" and characters are more ambiguous. If you are honest with yourself, you won't just write them off as selfish empty people (the reaction to this film and a lot of Ellis prose shows that a lot of people don't want to be honest with themselves) - they are more interesting and while mostly being tragic have a perspective you can understand.

A protagonist is a young guy who has all the money and time he can need and has group sex with very attractive people which, is very seductive. He starts to develop more traditional feelings toward a girl he sleeps with and tries to have more exclusivity with her, which she doesn't want at the moment because she still loves the polygamy and pleasures it brings and also may be too infantile to understand his impulse - also bad things are about to happen to her.

An estranged father played excellently by Chris Isaac is a certain man who was disappointed in marriage and became a bachelor and is hitting on women everywhere without conscious effort and tries to connect with his son, but the man he is, his history with his son and how it has shaped his son's personality make it futile.

Even the scary sociopath played by Billy Bob Thornton has a couple of moments when you understand where's he coming from - like his honest answer "I don't know" to his wife's question "Did you ever love me".

In the end although I like the movie I must say I agree with Bret Ellis that if the movie was at the same time made longer to include more scenes that were shot and some scenes were made faster and less long and heavy it honestly might have benefited and made more rewatchable.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
It Just Wasn't Interesting
Writer0160324 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I am a huge fan of Bret Easton Ellis, I traveled two hours once where he was giving a book signing. I own all of his movies--and I'll probably buy this one, just to complete the collection--but this film wasn't interesting. Forget the people who say they are self-indulgent, narcissistic, lascivious, promiscuous, drug-addled twenty somethings, I mean, that's just the characters they play. Great directing, leads the actors to not look as if they are acting, but not in this movie. Gregor Jordan messed up. The characters weren't interesting, you can have movies where the characters are cold, detached, and live meaningless lives, and make them interesting, these characters weren't interesting, I didn't care what happened next. That's all I ask from a movie, engage me. The characters lives and acts can be pointless, but they have to be interesting. It's a rule. You can make a movie with no plot, but events must happen.

What we get with this movie is a moral play. Something happens that is traditional of the Hays Code in the 1950's, where, even if it the character's don't deserve it, if they ruin the moral compass, say a girl is promiscuous, she must be punished. This film is pointless, meaningless, it's everything the characters were supposed to be but weren't, and worst of it all, the film was uninteresting. With all the bad reviews, with Bret Easton Ellis bashing the movie, I went in with low expectations, and the film was able to be lower than than those expectations. And that's really disappointing, because when I first heard about it, before there was a trailer, before the characters were nailed down, when they were still talking about one of the Olsen sisters as an actress, I was thinking this film was going to be great.
16 out of 32 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed