Combustible Celluloid
With: Joel Kinnaman, Ana de Armas, Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, Common, Joanna Kaczynska, Edwin de la Renta, Sam Spruell. Aylam Orian, Karma Meyer, Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Peter Parker Mensah, Arturo Castro, Abdul-Ahad Patel
Written by: Rowan Joffe, Andrea Di Stefano, Matt Cook, based on a novel by Anders Roslund, Börge Hellström
Directed by: Andrea Di Stefano
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and pervasive language
Running Time: 113
Date: 04/17/2020

The Informer (2020)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Jail Blurred

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This mixed bag of an action-thriller is so convoluted that several characters, and their motivations, get lost in the shuffle, but Joel Kinnaman still carries it with his appealing, commanding performance.

In The Informer, Pete Koslow (Kinnaman), who is ex-military with a criminal past, is now working for the FBI, infiltrating the Polish mob and attempting to intercept a big fentanyl sale. Unfortunately, the buyer turns out to be an undercover cop and is killed. Pete takes the blame for the death, both by the Polish mob boss (Eugene Lipinski) and by his FBI handlers, Wilcox (Rosamund Pike) and Montgomery (Clive Owen).

To correct the situation, Pete must return to prison; he's supposed to be out in 24 hours, but is betrayed and stages his own violent escape. Meanwhile, an NYPD officer, Grens (Common) wants to avenge the death of his partner, the undercover cop in the drug deal, and Polish gangsters have begun to threaten Pete's wife (Ana de Armas) and daughter.

The Informer is based on a Swedish novel (Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström), and the screenwriters seem to have had a difficult time compressing it into a two-hour movie. Characters keep arriving, and it's sometimes unclear which side anyone's on, or why Pete gets the blame for the undercover cop's death. Moreover, actors like Common and Owen tend to hit one-note performances, perhaps because of all the confusion.

Likewise, de Armas gets stuck in the role of a poor, waiting, worrying wife and can't really bring much to it. But Pike's character is consistently interesting, and Kinnaman saves the day, carrying his character's painful past in his haunted eyes, thinking on his feet, and conveying genuine anguish over the possibility of losing his family.

Director Andrea Di Stefano uses him well, and stages some gripping sequences, especially the climactic prison break. Overall, The Informer isn't exactly memorable, but it's certainly passable.

Movies Unlimtied