Combustible Celluloid Review - Confidential Informant (2023), Michael Kaycheck, Michael Oblowitz, Brooke Nasser, Michael Oblowitz, Nick Stahl, Mel Gibson, Kate Bosworth, Dominic Purcell, Russell Richardson, Arielle Raycene, Erik Valdez, John Cassini
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With: Nick Stahl, Mel Gibson, Kate Bosworth, Dominic Purcell, Russell Richardson, Arielle Raycene, Erik Valdez, John Cassini
Written by: Michael Kaycheck, Michael Oblowitz, Brooke Nasser
Directed by: Michael Oblowitz
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, drug use, some violence and graphic nudity
Running Time: 88
Date: 06/27/2023

Confidential Informant (2023)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Strife Insurance

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The crime thriller Confidential Informant starts with a good idea, but quickly flounders in its attempts to turn it into a good story; it's dramatically inert, and feels stretched-out, packed with moments of empty filler.

Narcotics officers Tom Moran (Dominic Purcell) and Mike Thorton (Nick Stahl), fought in the war in the Middle East together and are inseparable. They employ a stool pigeon, Señor (Erik Valdez), to help them on the street. Unfortunately, Tom learns he has cancer, with no chance of recovery. Speaking with a fellow officer who is retired, they learn that a regular pension doesn't go very far, but that, if an officer is killed in the line of duty, then his family will be well taken care of.

Realizing that Señor is also sick, Tom comes up with a plan to be shot and killed on duty, to help provide for his wife (Kate Bosworth) and young son. Mike resists, but eventually agrees to help. The plan comes off without a hitch, but unfortunately, an Internal Affairs man, William Learner (Russell Richardson), suspects something is fishy.

Confidential Informant introduces us to the alarming concept that, while a regular police pension isn't enough to live on, dying in the line of duty offers a handsome package that will take care of an officer's family comfortably. But making that idea move and pulse is a problem.

Moran keeps his condition secret from his wife, so his "home" scenes are meaningless (and Bosworth has nothing to do, except cry at her husband's funeral). Meanwhile, Thorton spends his evenings drinking himself into oblivion and throwing his money away on a stripper, a subplot that doesn't seem to tie into the story at all. Top-billed Mel Gibson mostly sits behind a desk with an electric fan, smoking cigarettes, and occasionally barking at people. The informant of the title, Señor, is barely treated as a human, and his sacrifice is not even acknowledged.

Only the Learner character has a forward thrust, but the movie treats him as the interloper, and wants us to root against him. All in all Confidential Informant might be a powerful call to fix a broken system, but it's not much of a movie.

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