Matt Damon spills secrets as ‘The Informant!’
BY SEAN O’CONNELL
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Matt Damon certainly deserved an Oscar nomination for his work last year. But if we ran the Academy, we would have recognized the actor for his outstanding comedic performance as the title character in Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant!” over his turn as a racially harmonious Rugby star in Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus.”
Don’t feel bad if you don’t recognize Damon at first. He packs on the pounds and ducks behind a distracting ‘stache to play Mark Whitacre, a corporate whistleblower who pulls multiple fast ones on his employers, his wife (Melanie Lynskey, “Up In the Air”) and ambitious FBI agents (Joel McHale, Scott Bakula) who are responding to Whitacre’s juicy leads.
Soderbergh rarely tries his hand at comedy. “Informant!” reminds us he should test these waters more often, especially if he has Damon in tow. The laughter in “Informant!” may stem from a disbelief that one attention-seeking man could cause such disorder in corporate and government environments. But the chuckles are earned, and the conclusion is surprisingly devastating.
Grab Warner’s DVD of “The Informant!” for a Dolby digital audio transfer and deleted scenes.
The movie – *** out of 4
The DVD – **1/2 out of 4
‘The Damned United’ (Blu-ray)
With the World Cup competition on the horizon, Tom Hooper’s excellent “The Damned United” acts as an appetizer of historical soccer drama before enthusiasts belly up to the table for a full feast.
Oscar-nominated scribe Peter Morgan (“The Queen”) adapts David Peace’s novel about embattled British soccer coach Brian Clough (Michael Sheen), who assumed control of legendary club Leeds United but ran the team into the ground with his stubborn practices.
Like the best sports films, “United” finds its riveting story in the locker-room and board-room wranglings of competitive team leaders, and dissects them with documentary-style precision. It isn’t a film about how sport brings men together. Quite the opposite. The point of “United” seems to be that sport can be just another means of grinding a particular axe. Bottom line: This is a “Damned” good film.
Sony’s new Blu-ray boasts multiple features that enhance spectacular audio and visual transfers. Look for an audio commentary track, a “Making of” feature, various clips exploring the real Brian Clough (as well as Sheen’s process for perfecting the reviled coach), reels about English football in the 1970s, and much more.
The movie – *** out of 4
The Blu-ray – *** out of 4