Based on a bizarrely true story, this is the tale of Mark Whitacre, a young executive at a food processing corporation who one day tells the FBI that he would like to blow the whistle on illegal activity at his workplace. When he meets with Agent Shepard, he informs them that several executives at ADM, his company, had been fixing the price of a key chemical additive in the food processing industry for years. He had witnessed this firsthand, and he had been gathering for some time audio evidence to present to the FBI. This leads to a raid on ADM, along with some arrests of key players. If it had simply ended there, the story may have been less interesting... but Whitacre is a severely deluded, hopelessly optimistic, and potentially criminally deceitful individual. When those above him in the pecking order are convicted, Whitacre begins to campaign to become CEO of the company-- the same company he blew the whistle on, the same one that could potentially go under in disgrace. He also reveals, much to the shock and dismay of the FBI agents he's working for, that he's been embezzling millions of dollars from ADM for years, including during the time he was doing covert operations for the FBI. As people in his life grow sick of his irrational and bizarre behavior, and as the heat from the investigation rapidly turns away from ADM and onto him, Whitacre must get his manic behavior under control before he ends up spending his entire life in prison, away from his wife and anyone who ever cared about him.
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Best part of story, including ending:
This is an amazing and hilarious true story, with Whitacre being one of the most interesting leading men in a comedy in years. I count this among director Steven Soderbergh's best.
Best scene in story:
In one scene, while audio taping his partners at ADM, his tape recorder begins clicking... so, much to the astonishment of his FBI agent, he simply opens his suitcase, exposing the tape recorder, fixes it, and keeps on talking to his co-workers.
Opinion about the main character:
Whitacre is endlessly sunny, but he's also an unreliable narrator, telling us things and then rewinding and giving us a different version later on. Still, this makes me incredibly fascinating.