Der Informant! (2009)

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Der Informant!: Directed by Steven Soderbergh. With Matt Damon, Lucas McHugh Carroll, Eddie Jemison, Rusty Schwimmer. The U.S. government decides to go after an agro-business giant with a price-fixing accusation, based on the evidence submitted by their star witness, vice president-turned-informant Mark Whitacre.

“If you think Andrew Haighu0026#39;s Lean on Pete, adapted from the novel by writer-musician Willy Vlautin, is a boiler plate boy and his horse idyll, then go see National Velvet. Here is the story of an underclass teen, 15 year old Charley (Charlie Plummer), who happens on a summer job tending stables and horses that gives him purpose and edges him into adulthood with love and tragedy.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eSet in the Pacific Northwestu0026#39;s Portland, the unsentimental dramatic adventure has encounters with his single father, Ray, and girlfriends like a married secretary who brings Ray enormous trouble. Charley experiences loving that can be violent and survival that is uncertain. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eBetter is his experience with horses and a sleazy owner, Del (Steve Buscemi), who shows him how to tend the horses and eat in a civilized fashion, as well as the underbelly of horse racing in the boonies. Del, a complex character of the rough and soft, leads Charley to his first big love, aging quarter horse Lean on Pete, on whom Charlie will lean for emotional support as long as fate allows. Absconding with Pete to keep him from the slaughterhouse leads Charley to parlous times and tragedy but toward salvation.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe first half is chockfull of small experiences with the underclass, each member of whom is struggling to survive but not without a few raucous interludes. Basically, however, life in trailers and moveable horse races frequently leads to grim futures.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAs with any teen, breaking with parents and guardians is crucial to maturation, and Charley is no different. When he and Pete take off to find long lost Aunt Margy (Alison Elliot), the broad vista of the West, dramatically photographed by Magnus Jonck, beckons the wanderers and portends dramatic challenges, not the least of which are the desert and unscrupulous adults. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eYet, listening to Charley confide about his life to Pete as they amble to the future is one of the filmu0026#39;s understated delights. Like the film itself, we can exult in Charleyu0026#39;s independence while fearing for his physical and mental safety. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAs a youthful representative of a vulnerable class, Charley brings hope from his travels. Like a Steinbeck wanderer, he trudges to a problematic future as he builds on his brief but illuminating early-life experiences.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eJust listen to the Bonnie Prince Billy cover of R. Kellyu0026#39;s u0026quot;The Worldu0026#39;s Greatestu0026quot; over the credits to catch his melancholy present and future, no longer leaning on Pete for survival.”


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