The informant!

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German title The informant!
Original title The informant!
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2009
length 108 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Steven Soderbergh
script Scott Z. Burns
production Michael Jaffe
Howard Braunstein
Kurt Eichenwald
Gregory Jacobs
Jennifer Fox
music Marvin Hamlisch
camera Steven Soderbergh
(as Peter Andrews)
cut Stephen Mirrione

The informant! is the film adaptation of the book The Informant! by Kurt Eichenwald and is based on a true story. The film was directed by Steven Soderbergh and starred by Matt Damon .


The biochemist Mark Whitacre, who leads the life of a wealthy average American with his wife, worked for the agricultural company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in the early 1990s . He is responsible for lysine production, where a virus causes production losses. In order not to be held responsible, Whitacre invents a conspiracy that involves sabotage and blackmail by an Asian competitor. ADM calls in the FBI to catch the masterminds. After Whitacre failed to dissuade his superiors from working with the FBI, his business and personal phone lines in his home, through which he was allegedly contacted by the blackmailers, are tapped. In order to divert attention from his machinations and also under pressure from his wife, he informs agents Brian Shepard and Bob Herndon of illegal price fixing between his employer and foreign competitors on a large scale.

For more solid evidence, Whitacre is assigned to his superiors and is asked to record further information from compromising meetings using a body-worn microphone and hidden cameras . Although Whitacre is very successful as a source of information using eavesdropping devices , the FBI agents soon discover that Whitacre is excessively reckless, insolent and very talkative. His relationship to the truth is also disturbed and possibly the result of a bipolar illness . For example, he adds some dramatic details to his biography in order to lend his image more shine in public, for example he claims that his parents, who are still in excellent health, died in an accident during his childhood.

Immune to all advice from FBI agents and his lawyers, he publicly boasts of his role as an informant after the investigation became known . At the same time, he doesn't want to see that his career at ADM has ended. When the company discovers that Whitacre has forged corporate orders, the tide turns. The investigators and the Ministry of Justice also find that their informant has no clean slate, but has received high bribe payments . Pressured by the ADM, the FBI eventually investigates its own informant. The embezzled sums of Whitacre first with 1.5 million, then 5 million, then with 7.7 million US dollars estimated. In the end, he admits he cheated on the company for $ 9.5 million - but it may have been as high as $ 11.5 million.

Mark Whitacre is sentenced to nine years in prison , the masterminds behind the price fixing at ADM are given three years in prison and are sentenced to heavy fines .


After Steven Soderbergh completed the production of the feature film Ocean's Eleven in 2002, he announced that he would film the book The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald , who had worked as a journalist for the New York Times . Scott Z. Burns wrote the script based on Eichenwald's book.

The film was shot in various locations in Illinois , Missouri , California , Arizona , Hawaii , Paris and Zurich . Filming began on April 29, 2008 and ended in June 2008. The film was also shot at Whitacre's former home in Moweaqua , Illinois, a smaller town about 25 miles from Decatur . The budget for the film was estimated at $ 21 million. The film celebrated its world premiere on September 7, 2009 at the Venice Film Festival . Further film screenings followed at various international film festivals. From September 18, 2009 the film was shown in the USA , Canada and Italy . From November 5, 2009 it was shown in Germany. On the opening weekend, nearly $ 10.5 million was made in the US, with total US revenues of over $ 33.3 million.

In the 168th episode of Chicago Public Radio produced radio program This American Life , which aired on 15 September 2000, the same action is addressed to Mark Whitacre.

Matt Damon put on 10+ pounds for the role to look like plump Mark Whitacre.


The ARD culture editors judge: “Matt Damon, an honest arsonist who had to feed himself overweight and winks through a cash register, is stunning in his fifth film with Soderbergh as a sympathetic psychopath. He plays Marc Whitacre insecure, sly and lovingly - a mixture that works in itself. And the story fits in perfectly with the current financial and moral crisis. The real Whitacre is very satisfied with the result, the viewer should be too and enjoy this wicked farce. "

The editorial team of Cinema sums it up: "" The informant! "Could have been a shrill farce, but Soderbergh lets the story rip and fray. Underlaid with snappy swing music, a duel of idiots takes place, which in the end remains strangely dull and expressionless. Conclusion: Amusing, but not really popular farce about the deals and tricks of the financial world, unfortunately not bad enough and much too talkative. "

Carsten Baumgardt from Filmstarts is of the opinion, "Soderbergh turns the story of an economic criminal and impostor [...] into an elegantly absurd espionage comedy." The character Whitacre is a person who "rushes from one untruth to the next ." Nobody knows where the front and back are - neither the protagonists nor the audience. ” Baumgardt finds positive words for the portrayal of Matt Damon, but it remains open “ what the director actually wants to say ” . “Soderbergh's subliminal game with truth and deception” is consistently “excellent” .


The film was nominated for best film in the Comedy and Musical category at the 2009 Satellite Awards , while Matt Damon was nominated for best actor in a comedy or musical and Marvin Hamlisch for best film music .

Also in 2009 Matt Damon was nominated again for Best Actor at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards and Marvin Hamlisch was again nominated for Best Score. In addition, Scott Z. Burns received a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay .

At the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and the Online Film Critics Society Awards , Marvin Hamlisch received further nominations for best film music in 2010. The score was also nominated for the 2010 Golden Reel Awards .

At the Golden Globe Award 2010 Hamlisch was again nominated for best film music, and Matt Damon received another nomination for best leading actor in a comedy or musical.

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for The Informant! Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , October 2009 (PDF; test number: 119 928 K).
  2. Age rating for Der Informant! Youth Media Commission .
  3. Locations according to the Internet Movie Database
  4. a b budget and box office results according to the Internet Movie Database
  5. a b c d e Start dates according to the Internet Movie Database
  6. a b Background information according to the Internet Movie Database
  7. The informant! In: ARD culture department. Archived from the original on January 8, 2010 ; Retrieved November 15, 2009 .
  8. The informant! In: Cinema Online. Retrieved October 30, 2009 .
  9. ^ Film review , film starts , Carsten Baumgardt
  10. a b c d e f nominations and awards according to the Internet Movie Database

Web links