Saturday, September 19, 2009

(Not Exactly) Under 250: The Informers

Here’s the thing, right? I’m that sick sick person who has a special place reserved in their heart and bookshelf for Bret Easton Ellis. Even as I shoot for higher literary pursuits, Ellis will always be my nightmarish idea of a beach read. I love his twisted displays of decrepit moralism, showcasing humanity at its absolute worst in order to indirectly warn of the outcome. With such Hollywood ready source material, I didn’t think it was possible to make a dull film out of The Informers. Rock stars? LA wealth? Drugs? Open relationships? Kidnapping? Vampirism (not of the supernatural variety)? Jesus Christ was I wrong. Boasting an ensemble cast, a solid soundtrack, and decent cinematography, The Informers manages to squander what its been given, edit the hell out of storylines, and present a glowing hot mess of plot and coked out nihilists just before the advent of AIDS. Even as you find yourself unable to look away, you’re as bored as the characters on screen who fuck without reason and whose motives are never revealed by the dialogue or director. Yes, it’s got style. Yes, there are parts that work well, many of them. The story focused on the crumbling family life of Billy Bob Thornton & Kim Basinger’s characters is cold, but intact. You can believe their situation and the disillusionment of their troubled teens. You can even buy into Lou Taylor Pucci and Chris Isaak’s creepy father-son relationship. Where the movie completely an utterly fails, however, is in tying one piece to another. The connections are flimsy, the logic is flawed, by the time the film ends, you don’t know what you’ve seen or how it was designed to function. There are pieces that seem like they should be poignant, but which fall flat because the impact has been dampened by improper lead-up. Plus, for anyone who’s ever read the book: the most shocking moments have been left out. There is no vampirism. That’s right: no vampirism. If you don’t have a connection to the source material, don’t bother. If you want a solid mix of Los Angeles short stories, go rent Short Cuts. Or, watch the opening credits of this film just to hear “New Gold Dream” by Simple Minds, relish the 80’s luxury, and shut it off.

1.5 out of 5.

Dir. Gregor Jordan, Stars: Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder, Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Jon Foster, Amber Heard, Lou Taylor Pucci, Chris Isaak, Rhys Ifans. Rated R, Running Time: 98 min.

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