The drug-addled zombies lurching through Gregor Jordan's The Informers are relics, dinosaurs from a decadent decade who belong in a museum, not a movie theater. Their destructively self-absorbed attitudes might have shocked audiences in 1983, the year the picture is set. Since then, however, we've spent too much time in the dead zones of Melrose Place, The O.C., and The Hills to be shaken by southern California's over-privileged fraternity.
Like a soap opera, Informers introduces multiple characters and touches on their issues. The nicest ones are stoners, voyeurs, and adulterers. On the flip side, we get kidnappers, drug dealers, and pedophiles. Article continues below
Good actors make the most of their underwritten parts here. Billy Bob Thornton is a desensitized Hollywood mogul torn between the ex-wife he never really loved (Kim Basinger) and the girlfriend he doesn't want to leave (Winona Ryder). Mickey Rourke and Brad Renfro (in his final film) tap dance through an intense subplot involving the kidnapped son of... well, I'm not exactly sure who. There's no real structure to Jordan's film, so stories haphazardly begin and disappear without ending. The strangest involves Chris Isaak and Lou Taylor Pucci as a dysfunctional father and son vacationing in Hawaii and competing for the same bar-hopping bimbos.
Jordan does at least adequately recreate the vibe of the superficial sex-and-drugs dramas that screened in the 1980s. Informers reaches beyond the Ray-Ban sunglasses and dated hairstyles to grasp the decade's me-first mentality and the escape-clause cocaine and alcohol that once provided spoiled brats a respite from their mundane existences.
In fact, Informers could be viewed as a companion piece to Marek Kanievska's Less Than Zero, a 1987 addiction drama also based on a Bret Easton Ellis novel. But Infomers is half the movie Zero is. And by my calculations, half of zero doesn't add up to much.