Based on an autobiographical memoir, The Informant is a fascinating story. Unfortunately this is let down by its execution.
Living with his young family in Gibraltar, bar owner Marc Duval is struggling to make ends meet. When he is offered an opportunity to earn money as an informant for the French boarder control, Marc is reluctant, but the lure of financial stability is too great…
Julien Leclercq’s The Informant is interesting in that it is based on real events, despite how far-fetched they may seem at times. The story is well constructed. The narrative builds tension as the film progresses, and there is sufficient mystery and drama to keep viewers engaged.
Nonetheless, there is a lack of flair to Leclercq’s direction. At points during The Informant, aspects could have been made more dramatic or engrossing than they actually are. Music in the film veers into the melodramatic at times. Limiting the use and intensity of the score would have helped with this.
Given that the story originates from the viewpoint of the protagonist, it would not have been surprising if the film had been wholly one-sided. However, the depiction of Marc in The Informant is more nuanced than this. There are moments when the audience will feel for his predicament, and others which exhibit his shortcomings.
The Informant does lose its momentum slightly as the plot continues. Later scenes which should be wrought with tension, are merely perfunctory. Although the film dominantly concerns Marc, it would have been more satisfying if the supporting characters had been fleshed out more. Gilles Lellouche delivers a competent performance as Marc. Tahar Rahim is also decent as Belimane.
With The Informant, an important story has not been translated into an important film. The Informant is certainly watchable, although it feels like a missed opportunity.