Not to be confused with the 2009 Steven Soderbergh/Matt Damon film of the same name, this powerful and thought-provoking thriller, directed by Julien Leclercq, tells the story of ordinary Frenchman Marc Duval, a bar owner strapped for cash who begins moonlighting as an informant for French customs in Gibraltar during the 1980s.
Initially drawn to the adventure and excessively lucrative possibilities this new avenue offers him and his family, Duval quickly fits into his deceptive double life – until he discovers that hanging out with merciless criminals comes with a terrifying price. Caught between a web of political intrigue and the destructive drug trade, Duval’s ordinary life soon spirals out of control, resulting in his precious family becoming pawns in an international power play between dubious custom officials and dangerous drug lords. No one is more lethal than cocaine-trafficking king pin Mario, who begins to trust Duval and takes him into his inner circle, elevating this already frightening game to a whole new level and setting the course for a knife-edged conclusion.
As The Informant is based on true events (Marc Fievet’s autobiographical book L’Aviseur) there is heightened jeopardy running through this cautionary tale, a reminder that life has a habit of being unfair and people actually lived this journey. The tense and shocking outcome isn’t overplayed and hits the optimum note between drama and reality, maintaining emotional resonance after it gradually and successfully builds empathy for the real life struggles of everyone concerned.
The cast handle their roles most effectively, with French actor/director Gilles Lellouche giving a deeply intense and multi-layered performance as Duval, expressing every beat of the heart-stopping conflict and out of depth danger he suddenly becomes embroiled within. Multi award-winning Italian actor Riccardo Scamarcio is charmingly chilling as Mario, and Tahar Rahim certainly comes up with the goods as Duval’s ambitious handler: the risk taking, and ultimately torn French customs officer Redjani Belimane.
The Informant, written by Abdel Raouf Dafri (Academy Award-nominated for A Prophet in 2009), is an interesting, character-driven film, a slow burning subtitled exposé of the murkier methods and treacherous dealings ruthlessly employed by both sides.
The Informant is released nationwide on 25th April 2014.
Watch the trailer for The Informant here: