COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 48min
STARRING: Matt Damon, Melanie Lynskey
Lie of the land: Lynskey and Damon
Matt Damon stacked on the kilos to play corporate biochemist and whistleblower Mark Whitacre, and being Matt Damon, he did a damn good job. His Whitacre is puffy, bespectacled and garrulous — and he has a tall, real-life tale to tell. From 1992 to 1996, Whitacre is both a bright spark in agricultural behemoth Archer Daniels Midland and an undercover spy there for the FBI, to whom he spilled the beans about international price-fixing. Yet as the hole Whitacre is busily digging grows to mass-grave size, it emerges that he has been fibbing to everyone and has 10 fingers in the corporate till.
This could be heavy psychological going but director Steven Soderbergh maintains a jaunty tone with a boppy Marvin Hamlisch score and a chatty voice-over from Whitacre, whose thoughts resemble a hamster scrabbling on a wheel. He is a seriously delusional corporate thief but as his grubby secrets and strange motives are unmasked, he chiefly comes off as a naughty boy. Chalk that up to unfailing Damon charm.