Screenwriters: Bret Easton Ellis, Nicholas Jarecki
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Brad Renfro, Winona Ryder, Chris Isaac, Rhys Ifans, Jon Foster, Amber Heard
Running time: 98 mins
Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger star in a sex and drug-fuelled movie that epitomises the hedonistic excesses of the mid '80s. No, this isn't 9½ Weeks - although that's how long this boring mess seems to drag on for. Boasting a very impressive ensemble cast, it's only the watchability of certain actors that keeps The Informers from spiralling into the post-partying, AIDS-plagued depression that the decadent decade lapsed into.
Adapted by famed author Bret Easton Ellis from his 1994 novel, Gregor Jordan's movie laboriously tries to capture the self-destructive greedy tendencies of an unappealing bunch of characters in 1983 Los Angeles. Vaguely interlocking narrative strands scale the upper and lower ends of the class system, ranging from the excellent Billy Bob Thornton's adulterous movie director William Sloane to the creepy Rourke's trailer trash child abductor Peter. Sadly, everything in between these two vignettes is an unengaging mess. Not even the underrated Chris Isaac as a seedy father trying to poach his son's potential girlfriend can avert the tedium.
Too much time is spent dwelling on young rock star Bryan Metro repeatedly moping around in a narcotic haze while undergoing some kind of spiritual crisis. We are given no reason to care about his predicament on an emotional or storytelling level, with any interest presumably lost in the awkward translation from novel to screenplay.
Similarly, a trio of post-pubescent promiscuous party animals, spearheaded by the gorgeous Amber Heard, function as little more than slabs of meat in the frequent orgy scenes that do little to titillate or allow us some kind of entry point in the characters' psyches.
Flicking between the concurrent plots, The Informers often stimulates the same frustrating sensation achieved by endless channel hopping in the hope of finding something, anything, that might hold the attention for a while. But there's little to be interested in apart from the mounting intrigue surrounding William Sloane's relationship with his distressed wife (Basinger) and moments of tension in the underdeveloped Rourke subplot. The credit here is largely due to the actors involved using their decades of experience to command our attention, with little help from the script.
Failing to work on so many levels, The Informers operates as a time capsule of 1983 and a time when substance was negated in favour of style. Sadly, this movie is severely lacking in both of those departments.
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