The Informer Review

A mountain of tropes and clichés

by Kumari Tilakawardane
Movies & TV Review

5

The Informer Review

Hop to

Joel Kinnaman stars as an oh-so down on his luck ex-con in this gritty thriller.

Adapted from a Swedish novel and now set in New York, The Informer offers up that well-worn cinematic crime yarn – the undercover operative who gets tangled up in all kinds of murky stuff and puts himself in almost unbearable danger.

This familiar plotline, coupled with a less-than-standout title, should by all rights make this film a non-event amongst the big releases of the summer. In lots of places – notably the first third and the finale, which are typically quite crucial parts – it is quite underwhelming; but an excellent cast and some tightly-wound atmosphere still make for a somewhat enjoyable thriller packed with tension.

Pete Koslow (Joel Kinnaman) could quite easily be described as the unluckiest man out there. He’s a special forces veteran of the Iraq War, he was thrown in jail for protecting his wife, then he was working as a pressed-upon informant for the FBI, and before long he finds his bid to be a free man thrown into jeopardy by the brutality of the Polish mob.

The beginning of the film is slow, and then absolutely everything happens at once

It is Kinnaman’s performance that pulls the film along, and he manages to just about dig it out from the mountain of tropes and clichés it’s toting around. His Koslow is brooding, hurt by just about everyone and desperate for an escape, and The Killing actor does an excellent job of furthering his case for being a regular Hollywood leading man.

Koslow is initially released from prison in exchange for working as a mole for FBI agent Wilcox (Rosamund Pike). Everything goes wrong (again) for Koslow’s hopes of a normal life when a New York cop is killed during the drug deal that was supposed to be his ticket back to his family. After this, for some reason, the crime lord – the General – in charge of the gang (Eugene Lipinski) decides that Koslow has to go back to jail to supervise the roaring narcotics trade inside. For an even more inexplicable and completely ludicrous reason, Wilcox turns around and says she also wants him to go back into prison – with the aim of bringing down the entire operation.
The Informer
It’s lucky that Kinnaman, Pike and Common – who plays the suspicious partner of the slain cop – put in strong performances here because the plot more than somewhat loses its way. It isn’t so much that it’s absurd that a war vet with a record would be screwed over by a crime lord and the FBI… it’s just the way it all happens. Koslow then has to survive jail, figure out a way to get out of the mess, clear his name, rescue his family, and work out how he’ll exact his revenge.

The beginning of the film is slow, and then absolutely everything happens at once. Director Andrea di Stefano does a great job of conjuring up the sense of threat and foreboding that permeates the whole film, but the script – adapted by di Stefano and Rowan Joffe from the novel 3 Seconds by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström – tries to shove in so many subplots and characters and elements that the whole thing gets a little too much.

It’s lucky that Kinnaman, Pike and Common put in strong performances here because the plot more than somewhat loses its way

There’s so much going on, in fact, that the end feels a little lacklustre. There’s a brief interlude of intrigue as the shadowy role of Wilcox’s senior (Clive Owen) is revealed, before Koslow goes all “I have a particular set of skills” on us and ruins any promise of this film being any different from the norm.

An atmospheric crime caper that doesn’t really get much further than its uninspired title, The Informer is at least buoyed by compelling performances across its impressive cast.

Scores

Verdict

.
.
.
.
.
5
5
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Our Review Ethos

Read about our review ethos and the meaning of our review badges.

To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.

Related Content

Rambo: Last Blood Review
  • By Casimir Harlow
  • Published
Ad Astra (IMAX) Review
  • By Kumari Tilakawardane
  • Published
Hustlers Review
  • By Kumari Tilakawardane
  • Published
It Chapter Two Review
  • By Kumari Tilakawardane
  • Published
Crawl Review
  • By Kumari Tilakawardane
  • Published

Latest Headlines

Roku Premiere streaming device with 4K HDR hits UK
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sky and Channel 4 expand partnership
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
J J Abrams's Bad Robot deal with WarnerMedia now official
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Apple TV+ and Arcade both $4.99 per month
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Top Bottom