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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 3, 2020


joel kinnaman as THE INFORMER

‘THE INFORMER’ is such an involving solid action-thriller about an undercover cop who’s forced to go into prison to save his wife and daughter after an FBI operation on a Polish drug cartel went terribly wrong.

It’s a pity that it was not at all promoted so, when we watched it, there were just about five of us in Trinoma when it deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

Adapted from the Swedish novel “Three Seconds”, Joel Kinnaman (the Swedish actor best known for the remake of “Robocop” and the TV drama, ‘The Killing’) stars as Pete Koslow, a former soldier who gets imprisoned because of a barroom brawl.

In exchange for early parole, he allows himself to be used by the FBI as an undercover agent in narcotic buy bust operations in New York City.

When one such operation goes horrible awry, killing another undercover cop (Arturo Castro), the Polish drug lord called The General (Eugene Lipinski), orders him to admit the killing so he can sell their drugs while in jail. 

The Federal law enforcers also think it’s best so he won’t be discovered as their informer and they can also do another undercover operation using him while he is inside the prison. But then, things again don’t go according to their plans.

Pete’s direct handler is a female FBI agent, Wilcox (Rosamund Pike of “Gone Girl”), who is at odds with her scheming superior, Montgromery (Clive Owen), who’s just too willing to sacrifice and double cross Pete to wash his own hands clean.

Meantime, an astute New York Police Department cop, Grens (Common), has a special interest in the case to avenge the death of his colleague who was killed by a Polish henchman in the buy bust operation.

The movie works because we get to care for Pete who becomes a hapless pawn trapped in the dangerous game played by the Feds with the Polish mafia.

As the movie’s brawny and resourceful hero, he ends up fighting all alone, both the law and the drug traffickers, and also the prison officials who want to do him in.

His body is heavily covered with tattoos and he’s not given even one chance to smile, but his serious lantern-jawed projection lends the emotional gravitas needed for the role, doing extremely well even in the climactic action set pieces.

Rosamund Pike initially plays a seemingly thankless role as the FBI agent who you can feel somehow cares for Pete’s welfare as the noose around his neck gets tighter.  But she can’t do anything about it as her hands are tied. She somehow manages to humanize her character toward the end and she has this fairly likeable chemistry with Kinnaman in their scenes together.

Also giving adequate support is Common as the diligent cop who figures out what Pete’s role in the FBI’s elaborate plan and also gets to rescue Pete’s wife (Anna de Armas of “Knives Out”) and daughter from the Polish assassins sent to murder them.

The movie is the sophomore job of Italian-American Andrea DiStefano who debuted in the thriller “Escobar: Paradise Lost”, about an American who falls in love with the niece of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, played by Benicio del Toro. His narrative exposition unfolds unbelievably well while important pivotal details are being slowly revealed in the course of the film.

He accomplishes his intention of coming up with a slambang action thriller and does a competent job of building up the story, from the crisply edited opening sequence up to the engrossing prison lockdown where the suspense is kicked up a notch and ends in a series of explosions.