I entered the theater hoping for a film that would involve me in some way, make me want to spend time with these characters. I should have known better. The Informers is a shallow film about shallow characters with a proposed purpose of indicting the shallow culture excess of Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Instead it falls victim to that which it seeks to attack, becoming a shallow exercise with nothing to offer. Somewhere along the way it lost its way: a film in search of a purpose. This disturbing lack of content leaves the audience adrift in a sea of emptiness,desperately looking for a life preserver and finding nothing.
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, who co-wrote the screenplay. I have not read the book, or any of Ellis' other novels either, so I cannot say if the book reads the way that it looks. I have seen one other film based on an Ellis novel, the far superior Mary Harron directed American Psycho. It is very easy to see the difference in quality between the two films, but it is also easy to see how connected they are. Both films are littered with shallow, superficial characters, but Psycho benefits from having its central character who revels in the superficial layer as if it were a religion (combined with the talent of one Christian Bale).
I sat down in the theater, the lights went down, the screen flickered to life with images of Los Angeles from above, cars flying the night streets. Then something happens, the scene shifts from the fast streets to a party filled with the young, rich, and pretty, and the pace moves to a crawl, with much of the sequence shown in slow motion. This is where it remains for the rest of the frustrating running time.
The characters are all in search of fame, power, wealth, and sex, seemingly valuing greed over all else. Sounds like the 1980s all right. Issues arise early when the characters reveal themselves as dull. I had no reason to care. Nothing interesting happened, all of the characters are interchangeable, and forget about trying to keep who is who straight, I couldn't.
The Informers almost challenges me not to write about it. Writing about it just may give it more attention than it deserves. As I left the theater I felt nothing, I had no reaction to the content, it wasn't shocking or eye opening, it was just there serving no purpose.
The cast is filled with talent including Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Brad Renfro (in his final performance), Winona Ryder, Rhys Ifans, Chris Isaak, and Amber Heard. Under the direction of Gregor Jordan, the cast struggles with the material, trying desperately to give it some substance. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be found.
Bottomline. This is a film about nothing, much like this is a review about nothing. You see, when you are not offered anything, you have nothing to work of, in turn spitting back out nothing. Sure, it is not incompetently made, it is just pointless.