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Still shot from the movie: The Informant!.

The Informant!

The FBI think they have a lead on an ongoing case of corporate crime when Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), one of the company's top executives, acts as an informant and agrees to gather evidence. However, as the investigation unfolds, Whitacre's spy aspirations and delusions of grandeur have the agents scratching their heads and trying to uncover the man's real reasons for becoming a whistleblower. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B-
Violence: B
Sexual Content: B-
Language: D
Drugs/Alcohol: B-
Run Time: 108
Theater Release: 18 Sep 2009
Video Release: 16 Feb 2010
MPAA Rating: R
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How We Determine Our Grades

After watching a movie with your children or students, we encourage parents and teachers to look for education opportunities to teach with movies. Here are a few discussion topics that can help with lesson plans or teaching in the home.

Do you think the consequences brought upon Mark Whitacre by the legal system were appropriate? What were the mitigating factors in his life that may have motivated him to make the decisions he did?

Mark Whitacre’s story is still ongoing. A search of his name on the Internet will reveal a multitude of curious tidbits up to the present day. One of interest is from the Decatur Illinois Herald-Review (the community where Mark worked for ADM).

Mr. Whitacre has earned a PhD in Biochemistry from Cornell and is currently serving as COO and President of Operations for a California biotech company. He has also spoken candidly about the good and bad choices he made, saying, “As I have shown, people can do heroic acts and make mistakes simultaneously.” His website, www.markwhitacre.com includes many links and articles dealing with the actual story. Be sure to look at his thoughts on business ethics.

The book The Informant was authored by New York Times report Kurt Echenwald, who covered Mr. Whitacre’s case. Lately Mr. Echenwald has been in the press for issues relating to journalism ethics.

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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