THE INFORMER (2019) review

The Informer (Warner Bros.)

The Informer hits cinemas across the UK and Ireland from Friday 30 August, 2019.


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.


Much like returning to horror movies, 2019 has been a journey of re-discovery for me thanks to the opportunities which writing this website has afforded me.

When Warner Bros. contacted and asked if we would like to send a member of our team to watch a new action-drama from one of the producers of Sicario and John Wick I absolutely jumped at the chance.

The Informer makes for fairly complex viewing thanks to a tightly woven plot which drip feeds information to the audience. I easily found myself searching scenes for clues desperate to move the mystery on to the next stage.

The jewel in The Informer‘s crown is by far its cast. Joel Kinnaman is able to command his scenes with a gravitas I was equally surprised and impressed to see. Following Pete down the rabbit hole as he becomes more and more ensconced in the FBI’s plan to take down The General is heartbreaking.

Here is a man who is clearly dedicated to his family and who feels wronged by the world around him. Though we don’t learn much of his backstory until later in the film it’s clear he didn’t wind up in this position by being a shady character.

Pete ends up completely at the mercy of those around him and I felt entirely empathetic towards him even during some of the films more melodramatic moments. The hostage situation in the prison become a little far fetched during the film’s climax but even these moments, with Pete at his most desperate, are portrayed in earnest.

Equally compelling but perhaps less accomplished is Ana de Armas as Pete’s wife, Sofia. Whilst her character is tragically caught up in the events of the movie I couldn’t help but find her a little less charismatic than her husband. It’s hardly a fair criticism to say but de Armas looked a little too young to be fully believable her in role, though is entirely able to pull a brilliant emotional performance.

There’s a blissful ambiguity to The Informer in that there are no true good guys or bad guys. There are plenty of bad people and good people who do bad things but no out-and-out protagonist and antagonist. Consequentially this meant I spent much of the movie mistrusting everyone except for poor old Pete.

Rosamund Pike’s Wilcox and Clive Owen as Montgomery are two of the murkiest characters in the entire piece. There’s at least some likability to Wilcox as she seems almost as caught up in events as Pete. She is most definitely the good cop to Wilcox’s bad cop.

As events unfold Wilcox finds herself at the behest of the storyline and during act three does become a little sidelined as the film loses itself in its drama. It’s more than made up for at the film’s climax however.

Pike is able to portray Wilcox with the standard coldness we would expect to see in an FBI agent but with her heart very much at her core. Her intentions may not always be clear but her emotions always are.

Montgomery is a totally different kettle of fish. There will, no doubt, be some in the audience who identify with his get-the-job-done attitude. Whilst others, myself included, will find him utterly loathsome. There’s method in his madness and Owen plays the role with a smattering of delight, I think it’s clear he enjoyed being so cold and clinical.

As I have alluded too The Informer’s third act is somewhat messy. As the various plot threads begin to weave together Peter becomes lost in a mire of warring prison gangs and the complex motivations of Wilcox and Montgomery.

I can’t say what would have been a more effective conclusion. It just feels the movie became disingenuous to itself in trying to accomplish a grander scale for its finale.

Though ultimately the conclusion of the film is still satisfying, as the storylines coalesce it does leads to the slightly preposterous prison riot and Pete’s inevitable escape. These scenes are somewhat of a quandary for me as they are exciting to watch but logically stand at odds with the more low-key first and second acts.


The Informer is an engaging and thrilling action-drama with plenty of melodramatic twists and turns. Whilst at times it frustrates, the incredibly strong cast are able to ensure the film is an enthralling watch from start-to-finish.


Directed by Andrea Di Stefano, The Informer stars Ana de Armas, Arturo Castro, Clive Owen, Common, Joel Kinnaman and Rosamund Pike. The film hits cinemas on August 30, 2019.

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By Neil Vagg

Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & TV and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG