Perhaps it’s the fact that director Gregor Jordan (who has made multiple appearances at Sundance since 1996) compared himself to Robert Altman, and this film to Short Cuts during the Q&A, but The Informers is just a film that I can’t jump behind. You could also chalk it up to not understanding a single thing that came out of the eighties (I was 5 in 1989). Or the fact that the movie was just too disjointed to be enjoyable. Either way, I was annoyed at the end of this film.
Sex, drugs, and new wave…Los Angeles in the early 1980s: a time of excess and decadence, and nobody captures it better than Bret Easton Ellis as he co-adapts his own acclaimed novel for the screen. Its multistrand narrative deftly balances a vast array of characters, who represent both the top of the heap (a Hollywood dream merchant, a dissolute rock star, an aging newscaster) and the bottom (a voyeuristic doorman and an amoral ex-con). Connecting his intertwining strands are the quintessential Ellis protagonists—a group of beautiful, blonde young men and women who sleep all day and party all night, doing drugs—and one another—with abandon, never realizing that they are dancing on the edge of an abyss.
There’s a heap of big named celebrities in this film (it’s not surprising, the budget was around $10 million…not really a film that fits in with Sundance). Billy Bob Thorton, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke…the list just keeps going. The film celebrates (or bitches about) the excess of the eighties, and the lack of satisfaction the wealthy get from doing lines of coke off urinals and having group sex. Blah blah blah. The story is broken up into several vignettes that barely have any relationship to each other, and sadly, none of them are interesting. When introducing the film, Jordan warned that the film was more about mood than a coherent narrative. He was going for the fantastic European films that follow the same code, but he failed to reach his lofty ambitions. Lead Jon Foster channeled a watered down version of Christian Bale (who played another Ellis character in American Psycho). The other actors (at least the big names) performed efficiently. Except for a weird Kim Basinger. How does she keep getting roles? Isn’t a narrative mostly what movies about? Story telling? The film does have style. I’ll give it that. But after a while, the style can’t make up for the disjointed plot, and the lack of character development. You can safely skip this one.