Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Informers (2009)

Decent, hollow Bret Easton Ellis adaptation that finds L.A. denizens bumping around in the mid-'80s as AIDS, addiction, and general aloofness take their toll. Jon Foster is, arguably, the lead, whose jealousy over his friend and girlfriend's relationship is simmered by the fact that they are constantly in menage a trois. Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Basinger are his parents, who have just reconciled their marriage, primarily for image purposes, as they are both seeing younger people. Brad Renfro is the doorman in his apartment, whose uncle, Mickey Rourke, comes to town with a underage mistress and a kidnapping scheme. Chris Isaak is the father of one of Foster's friends who takes him on a drunken Hawaiian vacation to maybe get closer with his son or, more definitely, to get laid. There are other characters and subplots, the most interesting of which, involving Brandon Routh as a modern-day vampire (ripe with L.A. symbolism and metaphor), was cut prior to production. The slice-of-life structure, lifted directly from Ellis, is not carefully constructed enough, and just comes off as isolated incidents rather than a cohesive package. Each celebrity feels like they are walking in off of a different film (especially the shamefully underused Rourke), and the younger actors' seem to be distanced from the material, and almost seem to be making a hot-body filled Showgirls interpretation of the plot. The actors who fare the best are Amber Heard, whose AIDS-ridden nymphet has a apathetic, cool exterior to hide her increasingly unhealthy body and mind, and the late-underrated Brad Renfro, who gives his overweight doorman a sort of lonely dreamer quality that places him in context to the other, more wealthy players in the film, which the other stories fail to achieve. Overall, though, the script does not allow for much pathos and humanity in the superficial, distant landscape, and director Gregor Jordan is, unlike Ellis, only interested in depicting the action, not commenting on it.

Slightly Recommended for fans of coked-up 80s glam and Bret Easton Ellis. This is a casual viewing; any close attention and you will probably feel as time-wasteful as the dumbass Los Angelinos in the flick.

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