Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Informers (2008)

**This review contains spoilers**

So the story is broken into a series of separate storylines. Characters from different storylines have some interaction with each other every now and then, so I’ll do another “separate synopses and my thoughts after each one” breakdown. The Informers is set in various cities throughout Los Angeles in 1983.

Bruce’s Death

One night at a party, Bruce (Fernando Consagra) strolls out into the street, and is killed by a speeding driver. His “friends” attended the funeral, and afterwards, Graham (Jon Foster), a drug dealer, Martin (Austin Nichols), an egotistical bisexual rock video producer and a prostitute, Tim (Lou Taylor Pucci), and Raymond (Aaron Himelstein) are sitting outside on the patio of the hotel, where the funeral is being held. But instead of reminiscing about good times with Bruce, Martin decides to bask in the glory of Bruce’s death by mocking his memory with unflattering stories, including the true stories of Bruce sleeping with Graham’s promiscuous girlfriend, Christie (Amber Heard). Raymond is disgusted by the lack of respect for Bruce’s memory, breaks down in tears, and Graham follows him to the bathroom for comfort.

My Thoughts: The problem with the opening moments for The Informers is, NOTHING catches your attention to the point, where you’ll be interested enough to stick around for the rest of the movie. Plus, they introduce the audience to the long list of very unlikeable characters from the start. Tim is whining about a vacation to Hawaii. Graham KNOWS his girlfriend is cheating on him, but he tries to play it off like it’s not a big deal. Raymond is blubbering like a baby for a guy, who clearly hated his guts (during the party Bruce shoved him in the chest, because Raymond was following him around too much), and Martin is just a tool. And why did they put so much emphasis on Bruce’s death? After he’s smacked by the car, and after the funeral, his character is never mentioned again.

Graham knows Christie is sleeping with other guys, doesn’t like it, but he still won’t do anything about it

Christie enjoys Martin as one of her more consistent and likeable sex partners outside of Graham, and Christie is pretty open about her promiscuity. But Graham’s feelings for Christie cause some friction in the consensual and friendly love triangle.

My Thoughts:
The mind-numbing stupidity in this storyline is just too much. There’s a scene, where Graham is watching this orgy involving Christie…..and he just stands there with this horrified look on his face? Eh, if Christie’s “open relationship” lifestyle is bothering you THAT much, why don’t you just leave her? I don’t get it. Graham cleans up his act, and you quickly realize Christie is in the wrong here, but it’s hard to feel any sympathy for Graham, because he’s such an inept crybaby. Oh, and on top of that, Martin calls Graham out for sleeping around with other women during the beginning, so again, why should I feel bad for Graham? In a lot of ways, he is/was just as bad as Christie.

Uncle Pete comes to visit, and he brings Mary with him

Peter (Mickey Rourke) is looking for a place to lay low, until the heat from some bad people dies down. Without giving him a choice in the matter, Peter hides out at his nephew Jack’s (Brad Renfro) house in Los Angeles. Jack is worried about Peter’s presence possibly jeopardizing his job as a doorman at Christie’s apartment complex, and Peter doesn’t help matters, because he brings a kidnapped teenager named Mary (Angela Sarafayan) with him. To make the situation worse, Peter abducts another young kid one day, so he can make more money in a kidnap and trade for cash business. But Jack makes a fatal mistake that will change his life forever, when he refuses to hand over the kid to the people, who paid Peter.

My Thoughts:
Well, this is probably the best storyline in The Informers. Unlike all the other storylines, Pete and Jack’s stroryline actually has some intrigue to it. You wonder what might happen, if Peter, Jack, and Mary stick around for the bad guys to come back. You wonder if Jack will finally find the courage to stand up to Peter, and finally tell him “no.“ Enough is enough. And you kind of feel sorry for Jack, because Peter comes out of nowhere, and ruins his life. Plus, Mickey Rourke delivers one of the best performances in this film.

Bryan Metro

Bryan Metro (Mel Raido) is a hot and wildly popular rock musician, who’s currently on tour. But along the way, Bryan succumbs to his addictions to drugs, alcoholism, and a shameful habit of sleeping with underage groupies. Bryan’s trusted bandmate, friend, and manager, Roger (Rhys Ifans) tries to secure a deal for a movie, that would put Bryan in the starring role, but Bryan’s problems and a broken relationship with Nina Metro (Simone Kessell), his ex-wife and the mother of his only child, could derail any chances of a positive future.

My Thoughts: Bryan Metro is easily the most despicable character in this movie. He’s a grown man, who sleeps with young male and female teenagers, he beats women, and he’s a terrible father. Need an example of how creepy Bryan Metro is? During the meeting for the B-movie with a rep from the studio, Bryan is attracted to this teenage girl, who’s watching TV in the bedroom of his hotel room. Metro loses interest in the meeting, and he becomes infatuated with the girl, when she smiles at him, showing Metro her braces.  Yeah, kind of hard to feel sympathy for Metro, when he’s on the phone yelling at Nina for a chance to speak with his kid, because he’s such a scumbag.

Tim Price and Les Price

Living with his mother, Tim’s parents are divorced, and against his will, Tim is forced to go on a vacation to Hawaii with his father Les (Chris Isaak). Tim still has bitter feelings towards his father, and the already strained relationship becomes worse in Hawaii.

My Thoughts: Yes, Les is an obnoxious man child, who hits on women half his age, but Tim is still annoying, as the whiny and immature spoiled brat. “This sucks! I’m going to Hawaii for a vacation, and my dad is paying for everything! What a jerk!” Seriously? So yeah, The Informers major problem of having one too many unlikeable characters rears its ugly head again here, because I didn’t want to support either Tim or Les.

William and Laura’s broken marriage

Depressed, and addicted to prescription  pills, Laura Sloan (Kim Basinger) agrees to a proposal from her estranged husband and wealthy movie producer, William Sloan (Billy Bob Thornton) for William to move back into their mansion, so they can live together. William wants a second chance after having an affair with Cheryl Moore (Winona Ryder), a popular local news anchorwoman, but Laura must end her sexual relationship with Martin. Meanwhile, William has doubts after some old feelings for Cheryl resurface, and the situation becomes more tense, when William pursues Cheryl at a restaurant during a celebratory dinner with the Sloan’s children, Graham and Susan (Cameron Goodman). 

My Thoughts: ……okay. So Laura is sleeping with Martin (her son‘s best friend), and on top of that, it’s heavily implied Martin and Laura had a regular and ongoing sexual relationship during William’s affair with Cheryl. So why should I feel sympathy for Laura, as this broken and depressed woman? William is a selfish douchebag, but Laura is no saint either. And Susan could’ve  provided some much needed positive light in the murky darkness of characters for The Informers, but Goodman doesn’t receive a significant amount of screen time here.


The veterans take the cake here, because Rourke and Basinger deliver the best performances. Amber Heard is just eye candy, because during most of her appearances in this film, she’s either topless, completely naked, or having sex. Billy Bob Thornton is seemingly bored, with an unengaging and lifeless performance. And Winona Ryder is just going through the motions during her limited screen time. Brad Renfro’s Jack is probably the only guy in this entire film, who you can feel some sympathy for, but Renfro’s performance isn’t convincing,  at all (I cringed, when Jack tried to put on a tough guy face in front of his uncle Pete, and said “I’m gonna cut his fucking throat”). On a side note, I had no idea Renfro died of a heroin overdose a handful of years ago. Always thought he had some potential (he was pretty solid in Bully), and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out a reason for not seeing him in any movies recently. But after researching, I learned about his problems with drugs and alcohol.  Performance wise, the rest of the cast is not worth mentioning at all.

The Informers doesn’t give the audience any likeable characters to support or root for. Too many whining and spoiled rich kids, pedophiles, stupid people, self-absorbed junkies, and egomaniacs. And the writers ruin any semi-likeable characters. Yes, Bryan Metro is a piece of trash, but Nina is one of Martin’s clients, and she allows her young son to play with and bond with Martin?

The final scene of the movie shows Christie laying on the beach, and she’s CLEARLY dying (presumably from AIDS), because a fly lands on her cold and pale body, and she doesn’t even feel it. This scene was suppose to generate some sympathy for Christie, as Graham gives her one final kiss good-bye. But yeah, it’s kind of hard to feel sympathy for someone, who CONSTANTLY and carelessly has unprotected sex throughout the movie, and refuses to go to the doctor for help at the end.

William and Laura’s finale for their storyline was SO incredibly stupid. So Laura calls William out for trying to make another move on Cheryl. William eventually admits it during an argument, but Laura agrees to go with William to a banquet, and after that, William has to move out (again), and get out of Laura’s life forever. And get this, the main reason  for William wanting to go to the banquet is so he can see Cheryl in person again. And Laura agrees, because she wants to have a final face to face confrontation with Cheryl. But here’s the swerve! William and Laura arrive at the banquet, but Laura never gets out of the limo. She catches Cheryl with one glimpse from inside the limo, closes the door, and leaves William at the banquet by himself, as the limo drives away. Okay. Hold on a minute. Laura could’ve avoided this whole mess by simply choosing to stay at home. And William had plenty of chances to see Cheryl face to face without Laura. So why on Earth did they have to go together? I don’t get it.

Any social commentary for the consequences of unprotected sex, AIDS, and the outbreak of STDs in the gay community is overshadowed by an overload of dreary and overly dramatic storylines. And the best performances from Rourke and Basinger are undermined by two unlikable (especially Rourke’s Peter, because it’s implied he has a sexual relationship with Mary) characters. The Informers is a depressing, ugly, and miserable ensemble film with too many scumbag characters, and the stroylines culminate into a series of unfulfilling and underwhelming finales. An awful , awful film, and to think they almost added a supernatural element to this one. Brandon Routh was suppose to play a vampire in another sub-plot (the vampire was in the book, and The Informers is based on the same book with the same title), but those plans were scrapped. I don’t think it’s possible, but there’s a good chance the vampire sub-plot would’ve dug a deeper grave for The Informers.

Rating: 0/10

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