Directed by Gregor Jordan and based on the work of Bret Easton Ellis (who helped to write the screenplay with Nicholas Jarecki), The Informers is far below other adaptations of the writer’s works (American Psycho, The Rules Of Attraction, Less Than Zero) but it’s not a terrible film.
There are a number of story strands running throughout the movie (some more entertaining and successful than others) all covering a variety of sins. There’s a debauched rock star, an unfaithful husband, a bad father, some carefree youths who keep themselves busy with sex and drugs and some other unsavoury characters. The details end up being rather inconsequential though the viewer can savour every little moment onscreen while events are unfolding, this movie feels more like a mood piece capturing a snapshot of 80s excess and exuberance on the cusp of being ruined by the encroaching harsh realities (the long-term effects of drug use, AIDS, etc). It’s very much along the same lines as The Rules Of Attraction with those involve neatly sidestepping to focus on the parents instead of the children, without audiences even noticing.
There’s a great cast. Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger and Winona Ryder all hold their own in the best story strand but there’s able support from Mickey Rourke, Brad Renfro, Amber Heard (who spends an impressive amount of her time onscreen in a state of undress and, yes, yes I am shallow enough to have enjoyed the movie more because of this fact), Lou Taylor Pucci, Austin Nichols and Jon Foster.
There’s also a pretty good soundtrack accompanying the sleek visuals.
The film only really lets itself down in terms of structure and cohesion, but that’s a big failing. Ellis himself has expressed displeasure with the way the thing turned out but I think artists close to their own work can sometimes be their own harshest critics so I’ll have to repeat that The Informers is not a terrible film. It’s no modern classic, and perhaps someone else in the director’s chair could have made something better of the material, but it’s enjoyable enough and features some fine actors giving fine performances. And a hint of vampirism. And Amber Heard. Mostly naked.