With a pedigree that covers both John Wick and Sicario, two of the hardest hitting action films of the last decade, The Informer is a tough, old school crime opus that was delayed several times before hitting the big screen, but turned out to be well worth the wait. Andrea di Stefano’s thriller is sold on its connections to other films, but there’s a down-and-dirty feel about the espionage featured here that’s located in a sweet spot somewhere bwteen Homeland and John le Carre, and that’s a good thing.
Joel Kinnaman plays Peter Koslow, a special ops undercover agent who is embedded in an FBI mission to shake-down drugs elements in the NYC/Polish community. Koslow has a wife (Blade Runner 2049’s Ana de Armas) and kid to protect, so when a routine pick-up of a diplomatic bag full of drugs goes south, Koslow is forced to witness the death of a cop.
All this brings in interest from the NYPD’s Grens (rapper Common), who is keen to find out how the cop died and nail exactly who is responsible; Koslow’s handlers (Rosamund Pike and Clive Owen) seek to contain the mess, but Koslow engineers his own passage out via an audacious prison break that makes for a substantian action highlight in a tough as balls scenario that never decends into comic book melodrama.
Based on the novel Three Seconds by Roslund & Hellstrom, The Informer’s generic title hides a sober, fairly gripping thriller that’s something of an antidote to much of the silver-screen’s childish fare; the fights are brutal and the stakes are high. Look elsewhere for choreography and stunts, because The Informer makes a virtue of feeling like a real-world story. With a well-known cast well used for once, The Informer’s hard-as-nails attitude makes it one of the better thrillers you can stream right now.