“Informant”: Tales of a Tea Party Sweetheart

Former radical activist and current Tea Party hero Brandon Darby is the kind of divisive figure that may seem heroic to those who admire testosterone-poisoned alpha males, but seems like an insufferable nozzle to the rest of us. Both sides are represented in Jamie Meltzer's documentary Informant. Made with Darby's full participation, much of it inside the remote cabin where Darby has lived since receiving death threats for his undercover work with the FBI in 2008, Informant is also a story about the cycles of bullying: Darby is said to move into a given situation and take over, trucking no guff from the less-powerful — he chastises a non-vegetarian to “stop eating tofu” just because the fellow, a member of the activist cell Darby infiltrated for the FBI, is naturally thin and not a beefy bruiser like Darby — but he also acquiesces to those who are more powerful than him, such as the FBI. And, like most bullies, Darby doesn't seem to entirely grasp why people might be angry with him, even if he himself isn't sure why he did what he did. Informant feels like an Errol Morris homage, and even if it's not quite up there with Morris's Mr. Death or The Fog of War, it may still be better than Darby deserves.

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