The Informer Review

For those of a certain vintage, the word informer only ever conjures up one thing.

A licky boom, boom down.

Alas, The Informer is not some documentary about how a second generation Irish immigrant from Canada came to corner the white boy reggae market – and more’s the pity. 

Pete Koslow is a good man in a bad place.

We know this because we’re introduced to him setting up some drug deal that seems too good to be true, while undercover fbi agents are listening to his every word in several unmarked cars parked outside. 

If that wasn’t enough of a clue, Pete is also shown to be a loving husband and devoted father pretty soon after. 

Although, I’m not sure doting on new bond girl Ana de Armas is that much of a hardship… but you get the picture.

Turns out – spoiler alert – Koslow is the titular informer of this show, and things are about to go very badly awry for him. 

The next meeting Pete arranges is to tie up this drug deal goes south, and our hero is hung out to dry by the federal agents who have coerced him into trying to set up local crime kingpin – The General – as recompense for getting him out of an earlier prison sentence. 

All of which means Pete’s now in The General’s debt, and he’s left with no alternative but to go back to his former prison to settle his account.

If only there weren’t plenty of folk inside who are looking to settle Koslow’s account permanently – prisoners and wardens… thus begins a deadly game of cat and mouse between Pete and pretty much everyone else.

Now, I wanted to like The Informer – its cast is strong enough to consign Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen and Common to mere supporting roles and there’s definitely an interesting story to be told here.

It’s just director and co-writer Andrea Di Stefano hasn’t managed to find this.

The ending is anti-climactic to say the least – just as I was gearing up for a cathartic third act to tie up all the loose ends, the final credits roll… leaving behind more questions than answers, of which there are many.

Koslow’s past as an army sniper is hinted at several times, but never revealed and, coupled with the premature ending, serves to make The Informer feel like the middle episode of a three part HBO special – which probably would have been a better fit for Anders Roslund’s original novel.

Perhaps the real problem is ‘leading’ man Joel Kinnaman, whose hulking presence as Koslow can’t disguise the fact that he’s neither a particular interesting nor particular good actor.

Even de Armas’ ‘startled deer trapped in the headlights’ look dolled all the way up to 11 isn’t enough to make her character feel believable.

The Informer should have been good – and it certainly isn’t bad, but in our age of apathy being neither one or the other is just about the worst thing you can be these days.

A licky boom, boom down.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

August 2019