Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Informers

Bret Easton Ellis, the hyper-stylized novelist behind such cult sensations as “American Psycho” and “The Rules of Attraction” gets yet another book-to-screen adaptation of his best novel yet, “The Informers”.

Movie adaptations of Ellis’ work either nail it or fall flat. To nail it, the filmmaker needs to capture Ellis’ highly satirical view of the world, which is typically set in ‘80s New York or LA. Mary Harron did a great job by not taking her American Psycho too seriously. Roger Avary’s Rules of Attraction, however, faulted badly; it’s amusing, sure, but nowhere near as iconic as the novel.

Adapting “The Informers” wasn’t going to be easy. The book has about 13 different narratives, tons of tricky dialogue and two vampires who live among society as… vampires. But with Ellis’ voice, the book works well. On screen, it fails miserably.

It’s ‘80s LA, and we’re focused, for the most part, on the snobby rich elite. The movie intertwines several story lines, most of which have nothing to do with the other. Sure the film is full of Ellis’ trademark profane, coke infused dialogue, but it’s not enough to keep it afloat.

Not even the likes of Billy Bob Thornton, Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Chris Isaak and Brad Renfro (his last film), can save this meandering mess. It’s not that the actors are bad, but they just aren’t given anything to do. They talk in one-note monotone which quickly loses our attention. The fact that Ellis himself co-wrote the screenplay puzzles me even more.

The whole time I was watching the film, I was waiting for the vampires, thinking it would be very difficult to pull off. I was relieved, at first, when the vampire story wasn’t even incorporated into the film. But then I realized that that was the plot line I was looking most forward too. I guess the filmmakers thought those characters would take away from the film. That's a shame, because this would've been one case where vampires actually put life into something. D

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