Matt Damon plays the part of a slightly insane fellow who works for ADM and decides it would be a good idea to become a Government Informant. Well, actually, he thinks it’s not that great an idea, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Mark Whitacre can’t help himself. He thinks of he is the man in the white hat, as the hero in his own story, as a man doing the right thing. The only problem is that he is a lair and a thief. This tends to make his usefulness as a whistleblower a bit limited. It makes him a pretty good suspect though.
The Informant is filled with Mark Whitacre sharing his advice on life and how to make people like you. On the one hand, he is a dim bulb who walks around in a Pollyanna world where doing the right thing is all that needs to be done to be the hero. After he becomes an informant he still thinks that he will one day be President of Archer Daniels Midland. He is told by his lawyers not to talk to anyone, so he sets up a series of press conferences and goes on a media blitz. He is honestly confused when the FBI is not happy that he has given an interview to The Wall Street Journal.
On the other hand, he is a world class embezzler. One of the running gags after he admits to stealing money is that the amount he stole keeps getting bigger and bigger. What started out as a mere $500,000 ends up being over $10 million and maybe more. Mark Whitacre seems to have a hard time remember things like dates and numbers. His wife is also a bit dim as she mentions how Mark bought ten cars, three of which they never even used. That’s the kind behavior that might tip some people off that something a little odd was going on.
The most amazing bits of the story are when Mark is recording the secret meetings about price fixing. He makes people move when they are blocking the camera, bangs on the tape recorder in his briefcase when the tape gets stuck, and cleans the lens on a hidden camera with other people in the room. No one notices his odd behavior, but then, his behavior is always odd.
He ends up in jail, still thinking he has been wronged. He may have stole a few million dollars, but ADM stole tens of millions. He wanted a Presidential Pardon for his crimes. The Informant is based on a true story, but you have to wonder whose version of the truth is the real one.