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The Informers – review

The Informers

INFORMERS Pictures, Images and Photos
Adapted from a series of short stories by Bret Easton Ellis, that was written during his college days,The Informers is a mess of a film from beginning to end. 2o odd years later Ellis helped co-write the script over a 3 year period.  It is Gregor Jordans feature film debut, and it shows in this chaotic mess of a film that seems to go nowhere.  I’ve been a huge fan of Ellis’s work for years and was excited to see this film after hearing he finally had a hand in the script writing process, something he was not a part of in the past 3 adaptions of his films, American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction, and Less Than Zero.

 

I think first and foremost the problem encountered here is trying to take 13 seemingly separate short stories that rarely cross over, and trying to make a cohesive whole film from them.  The problem shows in every facet of the film.  Story-lines and subplots seem to go nowhere and the characters basically end up where they started souless, selfish, hope-less, and addictive.  This is nothing new in the world of Ellis, in fact he has built his career around these characters, but there is some sense of redemption in his written work that is not easily transferred to the big screen.

 

The main story-line follows Graham (played by Jon Foster, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh) a drug pushing college kid who lives days by the pool and nights at high society parties and clubs in 1980’s L.A.   This was really the only plot that spoke anything to me.  You’ve got a kid who has it all, but slowly over the course of the film begins to realize his life is unraveling from the excesses of his life style.  There must be something more out there than cocaine and sex with every woman and man he comes across he believes.  This is really the only fully realized character in the film, and the only one that shows any signs of redemption.

 

From here the subplots of the film unravel in chaotic disbelief.  Grahams parents, played by Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Basinger, are going through a trial separation because of his affairs with a newscaster played by Winona Ryder.  I couldn’t have cared less if they worked things out and we never really get the chance to find out, or to find out what function Winona even plays in this bizarre love triangle.

 

Then there is the drug-addled, pedophile rock star Brian Metro who is fucked up from beginning to end on heroin and can’t seem to get it together.  Thats great, I get it. The 80’s were filled with bad synth music and sucky rock stars that flushed their lives down the tubes, next.

 

During the middle of the film we are introduced with yet another sub-plot of a father son who travel to Hawaii to re-connect, from what…we are never told.   They just hate each other like everyone else in the movie.  Chris Isaak plays the father in one of the worst acting jobs i’ve seen in the past decade.  Seriously just hand the razzie over to him now.  His fake drunken behavior alienates his son even more as the drinking and pot smoking continue on, and on, and on.

 

Mickey Rourke and Brad Renfro (in his last movie appearance) do give this movie a breath  of fresh air.  Renfro’s character is playing the straight and narrow route as a door man at our main characters penthouse sweet when his uncle (played by Rourke) rolls into town with an underage girl needing a place to crash.  Rourke seriously scared the shit out of me as a madman who kidnaps little boys only to sell them to a group of people who “are out of a fucking nightmare!”, according to him.  Renfro is slowly sucked into this world against his will.

 

As great as this little story-line is, it takes us way off the beaten path from what I believe Jordan and Ellis were trying to do in making a cohesive whole film.

 

While The Informers book is a quick exciting read, it really doesn’t rank high up there on the list of Ellis’s works, and to me it never really seemed a logical choice to adapt into a feature film.  The end result is worth the rent for fans of his work, but I would definitely skip this one in the theatre.

 

Grade:  C-