The Informant!

by: Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch's score for director Steven Soderbergh's film The Informant!, the true story of a corporate whistleblower, is deliberately referential to the point of pastiche. The main theme, "The Informant," is a piano-led meditation very much in the style of David Raksin's theme for Laura, lush and melodic and wistful. It's a setup. In case that exclamation mark in the title did not give the game away, The Informant! turns out to be the story of a man who is not what he seems, who may be in need of his own whistleblower, in fact, and while Hamlisch may start out seemingly sincere, he quickly turns to musical cues full of playful, mocking themes, starting with "Meet Mark," which might have come from a 1960s sitcom. Main character Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), an executive at agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland, begins to perceive himself as a spy for the FBI, and Hamlisch underscores this fantasy with "Car Meeting" and subsequent cues, which evoke Monty Norman's James Bond theme and John Barry's scoring for the early secret agent films. Before long, Hamlisch is channeling near-contemporaries like Burt Bacharach and, especially, Henry Mancini in buoyant jazz-pop music that makes fun of the proceedings and lets viewers know that not only are there surprises in store, but nothing is to be taken too seriously. This is a score that is anything but a subtle background to the action; it's foreground music that helps dictate the tone of the film, and, even before gravel-voiced Steve Tyrell makes like Frank Sinatra in the ironic, Randy Newman-style song "Trust Me," this is the most delightful soundtrack album of 2009. ~ William Ruhlmann

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.