Yet another run-of-the-mill police drama.
Do we really need another formulaic informant drama? Do we need more dirty agents and more sappy family dramas in this particular genre? To answer both questions: no.
“The Informer” has been delayed until this year, and given its trailers, I can already tell it’s empty. Especially since it was realized in America by Aviron Pictures, the distributes behind such bombs as “Serenity” and “The Strangers: Prey at Night.” And watching it now, it is. It fails to find any opportunities within its premise, and relies on all the tricks in the police movie book to keep things rolling along. The result is pure boredom.
We meet Pete Koslow (Joel Kinnaman), a reformed criminal and soldier-turned informant for the FBI with the task of shutting down a Fentanyl operation run by a Polish crime boss known as the General (Eugene Lipinski). After exposing an undercover cop (Auturo Castro) during a deal, he finds himself greater turmoil. His wife (Ana de Armas, recently much better in “Knives Out”) and daughter (Karma Meyer as the movie kid) are both on the line, and the drug has found its way in prison, so the sting now must have him disguised as an inmate.
To put it bluntly, if he goes to jail, he stays out of jail. And it’s the Bale Hill Prison, the same place he was convicted.
The FBI agents in the film are both dull and standard. Montgomery (Clive Owen) is the man in charge of the sting, and orders his agent Wilcox (Rosamund Pike) to throw Pete under the bus for the sake of their careers. Yes, we’ve all seen it before. This type of good cop, bad cop cliche. Who cares?
The main cop is, at least, more interesting. Grens (Common) was friends with the undercover cop, and begins snooping around trying to make sense of this. But he ends up being underwritten and underdeveloped. He’s a rapper and actor, who wants to fight gun control, if only this film took advantage of that.
The two performances I liked come from Kinnaman and Common, while the rest of the stars seem to be going through the motions. The former keeps his attitude flowing along with the turmoil, while the latter uses his dialogue and style to make his character interesting. But does every supporting character in “The Informer” has to be routine? Apparently, in this case, they do.
The writing starts off intriguing with the ex-con being forced to go back to expose the real criminal, but it ends up becoming lackluster. “The Informant,” “Black Mass,” and “Goodfellas” has taken advantage of this idea very well, while others like “Snitch,” “White Boy Rick,” and now, “The Informer” tend to put you to sleep.
I also felt some of the violence is meandering and unwatchable. My least favorite is when the protagonist has to take a prison guard hostage by stabbing him in the ear and dragging him in the control room. There’s nothing else too intense, but I might as well share with you the part that made me feel uncomfortable.
“The Informer” is not my cup of tea, so let’s not and say we did see it.