Would I lie to you? Mark Whitacre, the central figure in Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!, is a guy who blows the whistle and his own horn at the same time. It's a stunt that leaves him, and us, breathless. And not always in a good way.
Based on the curious and curiouser tale of the real-life agribusiness exec (Matt Damon, bewigged and wiggy), the truth-based film about a compulsive liar wavers between corporate thriller and screwball comedy. The result is like Michael Clayton, that story of moral remorse, but played for uneasy laughs.
Soderbergh introduces Whitacre as a peddler and promoter of lysine, the amino acid used as an additive to make food taste sweeter. Two questions drive the narrative. Is there a mole relaying lysine secrets to Japanese competitors, as Whitacre suggests to his bosses at Archer Daniels Midland? Or is there a price-fixing scheme between ADM and the Japanese, as he suggests to the FBI?