Historians and pop culture commentators are fond of labeling the eighties as a decade of meaningless trifles, a time that essentially signified nothing but the carnal and base pleasures of drugs, fashion, and overindulgent music. On the surface, the film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' The Informers, a collection of intertwining stories that take place in 1983, would seem a case in point regarding the eighties' standing as an era for self-gratification. Look closer, and you will see that, much like Bret Easton Ellis himself, there is something arcane that goes unnoticed each time you consider both the former and the latter subjects.

Promotional poster for The Informers

It's easy to say that a youth culture that was fed a steady diet of Pepsi promotions, A.D.D. inducing music videos, and Boy George could not possibly be anything other than intellectually void. This perception is immediately contradicted once post-80s life is truly considered. The nineties provided us with Color Me Badd, Quad City DJs, and Hootie and the Blowfish (which I guess can be viewed as a new-fangled Huey Lewis and the News). And worst of all, the past decade has yielded "artists" like T-Pain, Miley Cyrus, Dem Franchize Boyz, and a grab bag of other assorted badness. This isn't to say that there hasn't been anything decent to come out of the past two decades, but it is to say that the eighties are unjustly criticized for their flamboyance.

Bryan Metro (right), an aging Billy Idolesque character in The Informers

The Informers spotlights this penchant for superfluity in a way that no film after the eighties has been able to completely capture. Apart from Easton Ellis' barely masked indignation over the transition from book to film (an integral, and I'm being serious when I say integral, plot about vampires was extracted from the film version of the story), The Informers is generally in keeping with the narrative of the book. Characters and plots were melded together to make things more "cohesive," which is always code for "Let's dumb it down to generate mass appeal." 

The Beautiful Ones: Graham and his girlfriend Christy are two of the main characters in The Informers

The Informers, however, was never a book or a film that was going to have mass appeal, in part because few people outside of L.A. care about L.A., and in part because of the time period Easton Ellis selected for it. The eighties, except when used as a novelty dance theme, are much underappreciated. The fact is though, there is no other writer who can describe this decade as accurately and fantastically as one, Bret Easton Ellis.

P.S. There's loads of nudity if that helps incite you to see this film.

AuthorSmoking Barrel
CategoriesMovie Reviews