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Empty characters slog through wasteland of ‘Informers’

Movie a good way to feel bad

"The Informers" tries - and fails - to capture life in Los Angeles during the 1980s.

"The Informers" tries - and fails - to capture life in Los Angeles during the 1980s.

Bleak, soulless, vapid and more (or is it less?), “The Informers” is a thoroughly depressing way to spend a couple of hours.

Based on Bret Easton Ellis’ novel (he co-wrote the screenplay as well, so he can’t blame anyone else), the film attempts to capture mid-’80s life in Los Angeles, where the rich and beautiful waste both their lives and the audience’s time. It’s the onset of the AIDS era, drugs are omnipresent and things like goals and ambition are so passe as to not even be mentioned, or even thought about.

Ugh. Not the way those living through that time probably remember it, but here a lack of commitment of any kind isn’t just a lifestyle choice, it’s a given.

The film consists of several stories. Graham (Jon Foster), Christie (Amber Heard) and Martin (Austin Nichols) plod their way through the least-interesting pansexual relationship imaginable. Their friend Tim (Lou Taylor Pucci) suffers through a Hawaii vacation with his drunken, gauche father (Chris Isaak). Studio executive William (Billy Bob Thornton) has ditched an affair with a television news anchor (Winona Ryder) – maybe – and is contemplating moving back in with his shattered wife (Kim Basinger). Rock star Bryan Metro (Mel Raido) debauches his way through a cliched lead-singer lifestyle.

Enough? More than. But there’s also Jack (the late Brad Renfro), a doorman and would-be actor who receives an untimely visit from sleazy Peter (Mickey Rourke), whose business dealings, it quickly becomes apparent, aren’t just questionable but violent, criminal and most disturbing.

Director Gregor Jordan means to show us the costs of all this dissolute living, but lacks any hint of subtlety. The cast is largely wasted – not even the normally agreeable Isaak musters much interest. Basinger is OK, and Pucci and Renfro are the best of the younger actors at evoking anything approaching genuine emotion.

But “The Informers” is mostly like the group of people it portrays: You just wish it would go away.



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

Length: 100 minutes

Playing at: Opens Friday at

Grade: D

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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