The Informant

But what does it all meeeeeean?

TEN’s telemovie The Informant is a contemporary drama with a dash of action in which William McInnes plays a suburban father, Richard Button, woven into a world of crime and intelligence.

He tells everyone he is a furniture importer and gives out the outward appearance of being a doting dad and dedicated husband to Christine (Anita Hegh). He appears to have a good life with a sleek, modern home. Except he can’t help but look suspiciously at dubious faces around him. He eventually contacts the Australian Serious Crimes Agency with a tip that proves worthwhile.

Sounds a bit like a plot inspired from that famous fridge magnet, “Be Alert. Not Alarmed”, right? It’s not as paranoid… The first act leaves unanswered clues that suggest Button may not be all he seems.

Somehow the ASCA is impressed enough with his skills to offer him an undercover role in a murder case. If he can sniff out some clues he might crack the case for the government. He can get where they can’t go.

Heading up the Feds are Doug Lamont (Colin Friels), Simon Ford (Steve Curry), Jim Sivlich (Don Christopher) and Heidi Oliver (Leanna Walsman). There are tokenistic debates about the morality of using a civilian in such a dangerous act but they are fleeting.

Button befriends a narcotics trafficker Cameron Clifford (Matt Day) at the local gym and gains his trust, enacting a dual role as mole by day, dad by night.

Publicity notes indicate the plot for The Informant is inspired by true incidents. It is a strong enough premise to have interested the US FOX Network, who will reportedly adapt their own version. That one might live up to its promise, because with a bigger budget this version is sorely lacking in action for such an ambitious genre. There were so many scenes set in and around Star City Casino I nearly wanted to let it all ride on red….

When the ASCA turn around and spy on Button, the lines between good guys and bad guys blur. Perhaps that is its intent. For this viewer it was merely confusing. What does Button really want? And what is his past? If we’re supposed to find out in some sequel series, it appears we never will.

McInnes, as always, is charismatic as Button, and the sole glue that props up an uneven tale. Newcomer Don Christopher is strong in his first post NIDA role. As Button’s teenage daughter Buddy Button, Maddi Newling is a complete natural. A name to watch.

TEN has buried this on a Friday night in the final weeks of the television ratings year. For this it will get content points, and based on current television trends, possibly more points than viewers.

As a Screentime production from such luminaries as Peter Andrikidis (East West 101, Jessica, Mary Bryant) and Gred Haddrick (Underbelly, MDA, The Society Murders), The Informant isn’t the must-see it could have been.

The Informant airs 8:30pm Friday on TEN.

20 Comments:

  1. I like to know.
    Where the hell can you get the DVD of this Movie.
    What is it with Australian Retailers.
    Don’t they want sell Australian Movies?
    Only US films?

  2. Great movie. Loved the Australian script and and acting. Why dont we have more of this quality. The budget was obviously limited but that enabled producers, directors and actors to be innovative. William McInnes created a great character ( and ably supported by actors – Colin Friels was equally great).] Each actor gave their characters that edge to generate interest, conflict and confusion as the movie progressed.
    Well done TEN

  3. Loved it, found the fact that you couldn’t work out the past life of McInnes’ character added to it and I think left it open for a follow up. All the charcters played together well and your right, Maddi Newling was brilliant.

  4. I think that a lot of the comments here are very harsh. I must agree with Dan. The Informant was a hell of a lot better than City Homicide or Rush. I read that The Informant was meant to be a series but management changed hands in the Ten Network and the show was put on hold, and that’s when Rush came in… too bad. I would have loved to have seen more of this show. It’s based on a true story which was really cool. It wasn’t your typical police drama and it was original (that’s why FOX has bought it), I’m sick of seeing us copy the U.S.

    When will they release it on dvd? Or will they show it again?

  5. I actually liked it. It didn’t spell everything out and it left you wondering who the hell he actually was. This was a plus for me.

    I think McInnes is one of the most under-rated actors in Australia.

  6. I didn’t think it was all that bad – compared to the competition. You must admit it is an step up from the other leading aussie shows. The quality of 9 out of ten shows that are rating well and that are australian are terrible. This is a whole lot better than those. Most people I know haven’t even seen East West 101, yet they love Packed to the Rafters… that is telling you something.

    Remember, I said it wasn’t that bad compared to what is out there on Australian TV.

    Australia has a long way to go before it reaches the standard and quality of shows such as The Wire, The Sopranos or Oz…

  7. *possible spoilers here* Agreed, that ending was very underwhelming. The movie had appeared to be setting up heaps of tensions that could have all criss-crossed into one big (and good to watch) mess towards the end. Instead it was clinical, tense for just one scene (a scene extremely cinema to one near the start), and just felt very abrupt.

    RE: curry’s acting. If the cred from his role in “The King” is anything to go by, I wouldnt be saying his a poor actor. My dad reckons William Micinnes’ character was probably a double agent, working ultimately for australia. My one gripe is they made such a BIG deal about singapore, that you’d figure something interesting would come out of it.

    I guess the only other interesting prospect is if he was actually formally a dodgy character overseas, got immunity from the government for certain information, then went on to living regular life in Australia (as well as becoming a friend to…was it a high court judge?). We can only presume that this was written like so, intended to become a telemovie series, ala blackjack. Perhaps they were counting on the writers strike to go for longer, or Ch10 were just underwhelmed after seeing the first complete product.

    Anyone elses thoughts? On the story, etc.

  8. Underwhelmed. disappointed, woeful ending.

    Some parts that peaked my interest, then parts that made me go to sleepand di I mention that ending.

    Anita Hegh, under utilised.
    Steve Curry & Matt Day both out of their depth (apart from their wooden/stilted/inept unconvincing performance.

    great idea for show but who edited it..and the casting ughh~~

    Watchable but not enjoyable.

  9. Anita Hegh and Wiiilam McInnes make this must watch.

    Like Craig, can’t believe “The Informant” scheduled this late in year and poor timeslot.

    Mind you Ten must persist with extended Idol voting shows and other tripe.
    What a waste of potentially great movie.

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