starring Matt Damon, Lucas McHugh Carrol, Eddie Jemison, Rusty Schwimmer and Melanie Lynskey
screenplay by Scott Z. Burns
directed by Steven Soderbergh
I didn’t get this movie. I watched it because I wanted to see Matt Damon in a comedy. He came across like Bob Newhart. But it’s not really a comedy. Or, it’s some kind of fusion film, based on a book by Kurt Eichenwald. Damon plays a 1990s-era food company executive, Mark Whitacre, who makes up a story for the FBI of international price fixing in his industry. The Feds buy it and start an investigation, using Whitacre as their source. The problem is that the entire story appears to be made up. (I remain unclear about that.) The FBI builds its case on verbal reports from Whitacre, but when they ask - and then demand - to see the evidence, there is none. Why is Whitacre a liar? He’s pathological about it, too, like a Korsakov’s Psychosis patient. Is he some kind of narcissist who will spin any tale to keep attention fixed on him? I thought it was a comedy because the Whitacre character is such a joke. As an undercover witness for the FBI he carries on like a mix of Agent Maxwell Smart of Control and Austin Powers. But in this scenario, there is no Chaos. It’s a strange movie. The story twists like a pretzel, but the acting is great.