Italian director Andrea Di Stefano made a splash four years ago with his directorial debut, Escobar: Paradise Lost, a crime drama notable for the menacing lead performance by Benicio Del Toro as Pablo Escobar. Now Di Stefano is back taking another crack at the crime genre with The Informer, boasting a strong cast led by Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, Common, and Ana de Armas. Damn.
That kind of talent suggests a very strong screenplay by Matt Cook, writer of Triple 9 and Patriot’s Day. The story follows an ex-Special Ops soldier who turns FBI informant as a way of getting early release from prison.
SYNOPSIS: Honorably discharged Special Ops soldier Pete Koslow’s (Joel Kinnaman) world is turned upside-down when he is jailed after a fight to protect his wife (Ana de Armas). He’s given a chance for early release by becoming an informant for the FBI (Academy Award nominees Rosamund Pike and Clive Owen) and using his covert skills in an operation to take down The General, the most powerful crime boss in New York. But when the FBI sting meant to finally earn Koslow his freedom results in the death of an undercover NYPD cop, Koslow finds himself caught in the crossfire between the mob and the FBI. The General insists Koslow takes the heat and sends him back to prison to spearhead a drug operation from inside, and the FBI affirms that going back to jail to do The General’s bidding is the only way for Koslow to keep his deal with them alive. Caught in a world of impossible choices, Koslow must return to prison, where he formulates a plan to escape the clutches of three of New York City’s most powerful organizations – the mob, the NYPD and the FBI – in order to save himself and his family.
The one thing I could never get a handle on with Di Stefano’s previous film was its tone, which never seemed to settle on what it should be. This looks to be on much firmer, grittier territory and that cast is simply too good to overlook.
The Informer hits theaters on August 16th.