Director: Andrea Di Stefano
Starring: Joe Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Common, Ana de Armas, Clive Owen, Sam Spruell, Eugene Lipinski, Karma Meyer
Written by: Andrea Di Stefano, Rowan Joffe, Matt Cook, (based on the novel Three Second) Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom
Running Time: 113 mins
Release date: 30th August 2019
You can tell that the summer is over as we now start getting more adult, serious films. To kick off Autumn 2019, we have The Informer, a tough, full-blooded, tattooed covered drug drama. With its harsh language and tougher scenes of violence, this is a reasonable thriller but nothing special, a surprise considering the talent involved.
Pete Koslow works as an informant for the FBI, after being pulled from prison. FBI Agent Wilcox has set up a deal to bring down a Polish drug lord, but when things go wrong, the FBI hang him out to dry, and he is forced to return to prison. The drug lord wants Koslow to deliver drugs inside, while the FBI wants him to do it to capture the enemy. With promises from both sides, Koslow’s life and family is on the line. Meanwhile, a New York City cop, investigating the drug deal, could be his own hope of surviving.
This second feature from former actor Andrea Di Stefano has all the smells, sights and sounds of those tough drug dramas you see on Netflix. Unfortunately, that’s the problem with the film. It’s an area we’ve been to before. We get all the cliches that we know and love. Grainy, dull colours, tough guys covered in tattoos with cropped haircuts and every other word begins with F., Yet the film manages to be surprisingly gripping. The opening sequence, when Koslow has to make a drugs deal that goes badly wrong, has enough tension to keep the interest. Other set-pieces are handled with skill, even if they are ferocious in places, particularly when Koslow ends up in prison.
Sadly, the scenes between the drugs deal and prison are somewhat drawn out and baggy. The scenes in which we see Koslow being the perfect father and husband interrupt the drama. We are told the reason he ended up in prison in the first place was protecting his family, so these scenes become a little repetitive.
The performances are a little uneven too. Joe Kinnaman, known for playing Robocop, makes for a sympathetic lead, a man who is thrown into an impossible situation and while being trusting, is thrown to the wolves every time. Rosamund Pike delivers another decent performance as Wilcox, the agent who brought Koslow into this world in the first place. She’s a soft relief within all the hardship. While Clive Owen wins the award for best overacting. Every chance he gets, he chomps down on the scenery with his soft American accent that is one part general States, two parts recognisable Owen.
The Informer isn’t a terrible film, and it has plenty to commend. It’s just very ordinary. It needed something different for it to really stand out in the crowds. I don’t think it will get a massive audience. It will probably end up on Netflix in a few years and get lost among the hundreds of other films similar to this.