Film Review: The Informant

Posted: March 25, 2014

Based on real events, The Informant (originally released in France as Gibraltar) is a portrayal of the societal layers between ordinary citizens, low-level drug trafficking circles and elite drug trafficking operations. French expatriate, Marc Duval, cornered by debt, is forced into working as an informant for French customs. The film’s plot lines are attached to the real life 1985 Marc Fievet drug trafficking case, with director Julien Leclerq quick to place the film in this context through newspapers, photographs and other medium from the case.

Leclerq’s use of cinematic tools creates a suspense-filled thriller following the events in Marc Duval’s short-lived collaboration with French border customs officials. The fusion of realism with thriller within the semi-fictional plot line amplifies the gross injustice.

From the abrupt beginning scene, the plot line is quickly transported to a serene Gibraltar coast line where Marc’s infatuation with sailing and determination to elevate his family’s social and economic circumstances is enacted aboard a humble boat and rundown bar.

Marc’s bar-restaurant is the scene of his first spying operation, where Marc’s psychological tension is apparent. A snooker game is amplified and every sound in the process is synchronized to heighten the suspense through this scene. Marc’s family life is consistently interrupted with similar tools created through vehicle engines and bullets, standing as driving forces to charge the calm Gibraltar- based plot line.

What Marc takes as a single, one-time opportunity rapidly explodes out of control exposing him to shady bureaucrats and drug lords. The film clearly dissects societal layers and hierarchies as Marc stands in the middle between custom officials representing the ‘law’ and anarchy within an international web of political intrigue and illicit drug trading.

The development of the plot highlights societal sectors perceived above the law, illustrated through drug lord Lanfredi’s acquittal from an international drug arrest. This is also later confirmed by established customs official Gallois’ early confession that his work and department mainly carry out drug arrests to portray a positive image to the French customs department.

Ultimately, The Informant’s characters are reminiscent of the classic 1970s American thriller to some degree, making the film a must watch if you want an insight into this genre.

The Informant is out in cinemas across the UK on 25th April.

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