Confidential Informant (2023)

Confidential Informant (2023)

An anticlimactic low-budget police drama that tries too hard to be something it's not

3.5

Movie

United States of America
English, French, Hungarian
Action, Mystery, Thriller
2023
MICHAEL OBLOWITZ
Arielle Raycene, Dominic Purcell, Erik Valdez
88 min

TLDR

For the love of god, not everything has to be a hard-boiled genre piece; it's okay for some dramas to just be dramas!

What it's about

Still reeling from his time in the military, an alcoholic cop helps his cancer-stricken partner in the narcotics department pull off a scheme that puts them under the eye of an internal police investigation.

The take

Despite a solid premise that should lead to compelling drama—about men scarred by war and the morally grey inner workings of the police—Confidential Informant devolves into a half-baked thriller that's as dull as its title. Flat direction, a lack of connective tissue between scenes, and an unfortunately visible lack of production resources suck the life out of the script and from the actors' performances. There's clearly a foundation to be built upon here, but the film makes a crucial mistake in trying to have its cake and eat it too: it wants to deliver all the (unsatisfying) thrills of an antihero police procedural, but it just doesn't have the money or the creativity to do this, on top of being a character drama. And so any tension that it tries to build up deflates by the end, its characters nothing but hollow shells, stuck in a story that that never gives them a chance to be anything more interesting.

What stands out

In different hands (and after a number of rewrites), the film's base premise could really lead to something much more successful. One can imagine a version of this script that leaves behind all the obligatory drug bust stuff and focuses squarely on how these policemen characters feel trapped in a world where violence is their only escape. Unfortunately, it really seems like many of these production companies—themselves trapped in a gradually shrinking industry—would rather churn out generic genre pieces instead of taking a risk on more challenging material from filmmakers who are just trying their best.

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