Rated R strong sexual content, nudity, drug use, pervasive language and some disturbing images, 98 minutes
You've been duly informed: "The Informers" a horrible mess
"The Informers" is a baffling, junky and incoherent mess that won't do the careers of any of the actors involved any favors. The choppy, badly edited film seems to have gone terribly wrong in post-production, and most of the blame can probably go to writer and producer Bret Easton Ellis, who wrote the novel the movie is based on. What ends up on screen bears little resemblance to his book, and seems to channel his earlier (and better) efforts "Less than Zero" and "Rules of Attraction."
"The Informers" is a multi-strand narrative set in early 1983 Los Angeles, centered on an array of characters who represent the good and the bad. A bitter Hollywood movie executive (Billy Bob Thornton) is romancing a young TV newscaster (Wynona Ryder), though he wants to move back in with his boozy, estranged wife (Kim Basinger). Their handsome twenty-something son Graham (Jon Foster) is a high-profile drug dealer who lives with his promiscuous girlfriend (Amber Heard) and their hedonistic friend Martin (Austin Nichols), a music video producer.
Meanwhile, there's the dissolute rock star Bryan (Mel Raido) with substance abuse problems and who enjoys sleeping with underage women. A voyueristic doorman (Brad Renfro) must deal with his amoral leech ex-con uncle (Mickey Rourke) who moves and brings problems with him. And then there's Graham's friend Tim (Lou Taylor Pucci) who goes on an awkward vacation to Hawaii with his rich dad Les (Chris Isaak) in hopes they become closer.
"The Informers" is an unfortunate, awful piece of junk that wastes a talented cast with a bizarre, baffling and altogether incoherent story and doesn't flow well at all. It's very loosely based on Ellis' 1994 novel of the same name, using some of those same characters but that novel's non-linear structure makes it a difficult adaptation. He also wrote the screenplay for the movie, and is responsible for some of the worst dialogue that makes "Valley of the Dolls" look good. Had "The Informers" at least had camped it up some, it would've been more fun to watch, but it takes itself far, far too (and painfully) serious.
The horrific acting in "The Informers" doesn't help and brings out the most annoying habits in the gifted Billy Bob Thornton, Wynona Ryder, Mickey Rourke and particularly Kim Basinger, whose incapable of showing any emotion. It is notable that this is the last movie for Brad Renfro, who died of an overdose early last year. The bloated Renfro gives a bizarre, fidgety performance that indicates substance abuse, and his exchanges with an equally stoned-looking Rourke provide the film's only real watchable moments. The rest of the young, pretty unknown cast are completely forgettable.
The movie skims over heavy issues like infidelity, death, AIDS, substance abuse and with the exception of some nifty retro '80s songs, doesn't make good use of the time period. The script goes from one episode to the next without really saying much, and the choppiness of it all is why the story seems so baffling and filled with gaps. "The Informers" seems cut off in the middle, with one of the worst, baffling endings that I've seen in some time. Be duly informed, "The Informers" is a complete, utter mess and waste of time, don't bother.