True-life character study finds humor in corporate price-fixing of amino acids
Mark Whitacre is no moron. By all accounts, he’s an educated guy. He was president of Archer Daniels Midland’s BioProducts division—the youngest in company history—and that bespeaks a certain level of intelligence. For much of his time at the Fortune 500 company, Whitacre was an undercover informant for the FBI, and you would assume they don’t hire a lot of complete chuckleheads. Whitacre’s problem may simply be that he thinks too much. As portrayed in the loosey-goosey, true-life biopic The Informant!, Whitacre’s brain is a babbling brook that entertains every half-formed idea and every random-neuron non sequiter. Embodied by Matt Damon in workaday, low-glam mode, Mark Whitacre is that genial but infuriating stranger who sits next to you on the plane and just starts talking. For the entire flight. About god knows what. You stopped paying attention 200 miles ago.