The Carnivore reviews – Bret Easton Ellis’ The Informers out on DVD this week
For more reviews of The Informers visit The Omnivore here.
If you’re aching for a Bros revival then The Informers might ease your wait. Based on Bret Easton Ellis’s collection of short stories, the film shares the multi narrative strands, intertwining, converging and complementing into the same bleak uniformity of eighties excess. Blonde, buff and distressed denim clad, the glorious exteriors of the over-privileged ciphers belie their inner void. In a world where parents are more fucked than their kids, role models and parameters are in short supply – no wonder the world’s going to pot.
SO many Wayfarer Raybans haven’t been on display since… well, Shoreditch on a sunny saturday… and that’s a point. The soundtrack, costume, cinematography might plunge you back twenty odd years ago but it still looks current. It’s remarkable how much of contemporary culture pilfers from the past. Filmed before the threshold of the recession, I’m not sure whether this full bodied immersion in 80s glitz is needed. Especially as any modern relevance is downplayed in attempt to capture the self involvement of their universe. Here, the only bankruptcy is moral. Whilst the self indulgent and navel gazing tone of the film may reflect its characters’ concerns, it doesn’t leave you with much. But it definitely could have left you without the explanatory heart to heart where one of the imploding blonde bombshells reflects on how a lack of guidance means he can no longer distinguish right from wrong. Oh, right, I get it now.
This screen version is perhaps less unrelentingly nihilistic than the book; some characters manage to escape without Ellis’s trademark ambivalence, their fresh eyes allowing them to have a new perspective on the toxic bubble in which they’re trapped. In that way it almost seems a cop out, a pandering to audience’s demand for sympathetic characters – the bitter critique loses its edge. The promiscuous girl gets Aids, the kind loser finds some redemption and the downtrodden wife stands up for herself.
It’s mainly the established actors who really make the film more than an after-hours episode of 90120. Kim Basinger and her withering beauty is a joyful fascination to watch – she’s definitely not a disciple of the Sharon Stone Church of Botox – as her face sags and tightens into needy hope and prescription drug addled desperation. As a troubled young man all too desperate for rescue, the unrecognisable Brad Renfro’s performance is intense. Indeed the casting of Renfro as Mickey Rourke’s on-screen protégé is the nearest this po-faced film comes to putting its tongue anywhere near its cheek.