Snapshot Of An Empty Era In 'The Informers'

Amber Heard i i

Blond Bomb: Amber Heard plays Christie, who is beginning to suffer the consequences of her lifestyle. Senator Distribution hide caption

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Amber Heard

Blond Bomb: Amber Heard (shown here with Jon Foster) plays Christie, who is beginning to suffer the consequences of her lifestyle.

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The Informers

  • Director: Gregor Jordan
  • Genre: Drama
  • Running time: 98 minutes

Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, drug use, pervasive language and some disturbing images

Mickey Rourke i i

Shady Character: Mickey Rourke's Peter has an unappealing plan to make some money. Senator Distribution hide caption

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Mickey Rourke

Shady Character: Mickey Rourke's Peter has an unappealing plan to make some money.

Senator Distribution

"I need someone to tell me what's good and bad," pleads Graham (Jon Foster), one of the vapid, amoral youngsters offered for our consideration in The Informers. Well, since you asked, I'll tell you.

Your body is quite good — toned, bronzed, available to both men and women. But then you knew that, because clearly it's the only part of you that you've spent any time or energy developing.

As for the rest: Your friends are bad, your parents are bad, your city is bad, your job is bad, your habits are bad and the very times you live in are bad. Worst of all? Dude, sorry to say, but the movie you're in is really, really bad.

Adapted from Bret Easton Ellis' 1994 book, The Informers is a particularly pointless blast from the past. Set in 1983 Los Angeles, the movie revels in the upper-class ennui of disaffected rich kids and their outrageously dysfunctional parents.

Billy Bob Thornton plays William Sloan, a dissolute Hollywood studio chief who makes a halfhearted attempt to get back together with his estranged wife (Kim Basinger) despite his lingering affair with a peevish, wide-eyed TV reporter (Winona Ryder).

Graham, their son, deals coke to high-end scenesters in the entertainment industry but spends most of his time pouting, staring into space and participating in desultory orgies with Martin (Austin Nichols), a director of music videos, and Christie (Amber Heard), who has begun to exhibit — though she doesn't know it — the first symptoms of AIDS.

Directed by Gregor Jordan, The Informers skips around L.A. weaving together various narrative strands. Jack (Brad Renfro), a doorman in Christie's apartment, is discombobulated by a visit from the reptilian Peter (Mickey Rourke), who shows up on his doorstep with a sluggish underage girl and a scheme to kidnap little kids for ransom money.

Across town, Bryan Metro, the frazzled front man of a ridiculous rock band, shuffles from gig to hotel suite in a heavily narcotized stupor. His uncanny physical and intellectual resemblance to Derek Zoolander is, one assumes, inadvertent.

Young Tim (Lou Taylor Pucci), meanwhile, is carted off to a nightmarish Hawaiian vacation by his lecherous father (Chris Isaak). Pouting and staring into space ensues.

What any of these lurid, shapeless scenarios has to do with anything is beyond me. The time may be right for a scathing, Ellis-style inquiry into ruling-class blues, butThe Informers (which Ellis co-wrote with Nicholas Jarecki) fails to connect its portrait of Reagan-era indulgence with contemporary concerns. Worse, it's not even that compelling as a period piece — it should have been called Less Than Less Than Zero.

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