Bret Easton Ellis was a staple of the 1980s. The author lived and breathed man’s most polyester decade. And the ability to be trapped within that one decadent decade is evident throughout his works.
The first of his works was brought to the silver screen in 1987 when he was at the height of popularity.
The movie was Less Than Zero and it starred Andrew McCarthy, Robert Downey and James Spader. You could say it was part of the “extended” family of Brat Pack movies.
It told the story of a squeaky clean college freshman (McCarthy) who comes home to find his ex-best friend (Downey) has a serious drug addiction.
At the time in Downey’s life this role wasnt much of a stretch but the film became as much a staple of 80s pop culture as say Miami Vice. The Informers is very much in the same vein as Less Than Zero.
The over indulgence of the 1980s crowds upon some unsuspecting individuals in three inter-connecting yet seperate storylines. You could say this movie was made 20 years too late and is a sister movie to Less Than Zero.
The movie has an all star cast like Kim Basinger as a bored Bel Air housewife who wants nothing more than to get her philandering movie mogul husband (Billy Bob Thornton) out of her life. Thornton’s mistress is played by a very out of it Winona Ryder.
Basinger & Thornton’s son, Graham (Jon Foster) lives the rich spoiled high life where his friends partake in orgies, drugs and of course rock n’ roll. He also seems to be locked in a tragic romance with the always naked and stoned starlet, Christie (Amber Heard) and another guy, Martin (Austin Nichols). They seem to be locked in a tryst relationship which Graham hates. Also Martin is cheating on them with Graham’s mom. It’s the 80s of course that was happening.
The final story involves a desk clerk (Brad Renfro) who gets involved in a kidnapping of a little boy with a gangster played by Mickey Rourke. Oh there is also a subplot that involves a burnt out rock musicianwho can’t get it up.
I really liked Jon Foster’s performance as Graham it reminded me so much of Less Than Zero. He’ll emerge as something big one day just watch. Oh Amber Heard is naked in everyone of her scenes in this movie.
I like Amber Heard as an actress but here she was just naked eyecandy and this part really had nothing to it. So much for her claim she only does movies that have juicy parts. C’mon Amber bounce back!
The way the stories fall in and out of each other is interesting and the characters are vintage Bret Easton Ellis especially the whole Graham and Christie thing. I wanted the whole film to be about the youngsters like Less Than Zero. I could have accepted the other storylines if they went everywhere but no!
I never got the whole Mickey Rourke storyline which for me was a waste of movie space. It would have been more interesting if the they say kidnapped Billy Bob or a character that was more meaningful. It was also tragic to see Brad Renfro in his final performance. Especially since he was the best part of that whole storyline. He out-shined Mickey!
The movie’s final cryptic message really doesnt ring home as much as it should. Also it seems that the filmmakers left out other connecting stories from the book including one about vampires. With Hollywood’s obsession with vamps, lately, why in hell would you leave that angle out of the movie? Now if you could take this cast dump the Rourke-Renfro story and slice in half the Basinger-Thornton story and add the vamp storyline then you would have something. A vamp story told like Less Than Zero, that would rock!
This movie could have been so much better!
2 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer
Bret Easton Ellis Movie Ratings:
Less Than Zero (1987): 4 out of 5
American Psycho (2000): 4.5 out of 5
Rules of Attraction (2002): 2 out of 5
American Psycho II: All American Girl (2002): 1 out of 5 (Ellis just inspired this sloppy sequel)