Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

10/18/2009

With All the Fixin's

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

At the Toronto Film Festival, I should have known to keep my eyes out for any hint of deception while watching The Informant. Before the movie began, Stephen Soderbergh stepped up on stage and said there would be little sex or videotaping, but there would be enough lies to last a lifetime.

He was right. I should have believed him.

Soderbergh's The Informant opens with the endless stream of commentary from the head of Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon). As he drives through the cornfields of Illinois, an unsuspecting audience drives down with him and is introduced to a miasma of lies set to the playful soundtrack of Marvin Hamlisch.

Whitacre is an executive at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), an agribusiness manufacturing company that buys raw materials from farms and transforms them into additives for processed foods. His life gets infinitely more complicated as the one little lie he tells blossoms into a full-blown FBI investigation, and the farce just begins there.

I won't reveal the rest of the plot, but suffice to say, that you should almost never believe what you're told. What is most amazing about this movie is its faithfulness to actual events. After watching the movie, I recommend listening to This American Life's September 18, 2009 re-airing of the episode The Fix is In, which originally aired in 2000. Listeners who have seen the movie will realize once again just how strange the world is sometimes.

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