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Friday, April 24, 2009

The Informers: Slightly greater than zero

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Following Watchmen and Adventureland, this year’s cinematic fit of 1980s nostalgia continues with The Informers, a film based on the Bret Easton Ellis story collection of the same name. Though published in 1994, The Informers’ stories take place in the era benumbed by Ronald Reagan, MTV, Ray-Bans and Bolivian marching powder, and hark back to a time when Ellis was a famous literary figure, if not exactly a major one.

Ellis specialized in deliberately bland accounts of young people indulging in sex, drugs and other hollow pursuits for hip hit novels such as his debut Less Than Zero. Ellis and contemporaries such as Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney could never shake charges of shallowness, but at least their work provoked public arguments about serious fiction. In contrast, the most famous writers of this decade inspire fan sites about boy wizards and shiny vampires.

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