‘Informers’ Recalls 1980s Los Angeles17 Jun, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey
“If you can remember it, you weren’t there,” is a cliché Australian director Gregor Jordan likes to use about 1980s Los Angeles.
His film about that time, place and its residents, The Informers, is something you’ll never forget. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases it on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Aug. 25.
A brutal tale of greed, sex, addiction, disease and excess on an extreme scale, The Informers intersects the lives of Hollywood’s elite and its dregs, showing the consequences of unchecked decadence. Based on the work of Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho, Less Than Zero), the film’s ‘A’-list cast includes Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke, Chris Isaak and Brad Renfro in his final performance.
Dark doesn’t begin to describe The Informers, and reactions to it have ranged from “positive” to “offensive.” Producer Marco Weber said he has received threatening mail regarding The Informers, which genuinely surprises him.
“It’s a movie that makes you think, and, I was hoping, to give you a sense of values,” Weber said. “It shows what happens when those values aren’t there to show you the way.”
Los Angeles teens with too much money and no supervision do anything, with anyone, to feel alive. A Hollywood movie producer can’t seem to stop himself from ruining his marriage. A down-and-out actor is dragged into a hellish nightmare of crime. A rock star’s disturbing fetishes rule his life. All pay in unforgiving fashion for their debauchery and amorality.
“In terms of telling a dark story, audiences are used to films being structured and told in a certain way,” Jordan said. “When you see a story that’s not structured in the usual way, you come out with a different felling. I thought it was unconventional, and I knew some people were going to come out of it repelled.”
Though there were troubles at first getting the film made, the script, co-written by Ellis, drew stars far and wide.
“There are some people who clicked with this movie, and some who didn’t,” Jordan said of the casting process, adding Basinger “freaked out” when she read the script.
“The ones we did get were a bit interested in the dark side. They found something in it that was personal.
“The thing that attracted me to it was the script was more about moods and ambiance than story.”
Jordan said Los Angeles is the No. 1 star in the film, and that the same story could be set in ancient Rome or Babylon.
“"If you think it's dark and f***ed up, wait until you see what we cut out,” Weber said. The DVD and Blu-ray include a making-of featurette and a commentary.
“More and more people are seeing and recognizing this film,” Weber said. “There’s a subtext to this movie. This movie is about parents and children. Each storyline deals with that.”
“It’s Bret Easton Ellis at his best,” Weber said, pointing out that The Informers was written before Ellis’ better-known American Psycho. “Hopefully this movie will find its audience on DVD.”
The film also stars Amber Heard (Pineapple Express) and Jon Foster (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines).
Weber added that Renfro’s performance is among the reasons people should look for the home video release. The 25-year-old actor died of a heroine overdose in early 2008.
“This was his last film,” Weber said. “He had a dark past and was marginalized. There was a great enthusiasm to him. He was just such a lovely guy, but I’ve never met anyone that I came away with a sense that he wasn’t going to be around very long.
“We all felt he wasn’t going to be long for this world.”
The Informers DVD is $24.96; Blu-ray is $34.95. Prebook is July 23.