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Non-Review Review: The Informer

The Informer is essentially three films packaged in one.

While it’s hard to precisely outline these films without giving too much away, The Informer begins as a sleazy urban thriller about a police informer before morphing into a gritty prison drama before escalating into an elaborate hostage film. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these central premises. In fact, as fodder for film making goes, they are very reliable. Each of those three basic premises comes with stakes built in, and would be ubiquitous enough that the audience can follow along without the need for too much exposition or context.

🎵Oh Kinnaman, where’d you run to?
Oh Kinnaman, where’d you run to?
Oh Kinnaman, where’d you run to?
Kinnaman… where you gonna run to?🎶

Unfortunately, The Informer never quite settles on a particular tone or mood as it breezes through each of these three set-ups. The film runs just under two hours, which is a respectable run-time, but it does mean that each of those three genres ends up compressed. The film arguably spends more time on the transition between that initial urban thriller and subsequent prison drama than it does in either setting, creating the impression of a film more interested in visceral movement than a larger journey.

None of the three genres get enough screen-time or development to truly work, instead feeling like rough drafts rather than compelling set-ups. The characters and the storytelling are similarly rushed, often feeling flattened or sanded down in order to ease the movie’s transition from each type of story to the next. The result is a movie that only fleetingly engages, never holding its gaze long enough to deliver on any of its potential.

Poor (in)form.

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