The Informers

Bret Easton Ellis's attempt to interest us all, once again, in the corruption of gilded youth in 1980s LA falls horribly flat. This is his own tired screen adaptation - co-written with documentary-maker Nicholas Jarecki - of a 1994 collection of interlinked short stories: zonked-out affectless pretty boys and girls in Breakfast Club outfits, each of whom appears to be on Michael Jackson levels of prescription medication, all too listless even to sneer.

The older generation is represented by Billy Bob Thornton and Kim Basinger, playing a jaded movie exec and his chronically depressed wife, trying once again to make a go of their ailing marriage, despite Thornton's continuing infatuation with a TV newsreader, played by Winona Ryder with that rabbit-in-car-headlights look, which may or may not be intentional.

There is plenty of softcore sex and coke use, to which the movie attempts to give some kind of gravitas with a crass and shallow allusion to Aids: its treatment of that disease is almost criminally fatuous. Given the elaborate sophistication and self-awareness of Ellis's most recent novel, Lunar Park, there is a weird, almost comic absence of insight and perspective here. But it is a joke without humour and without a punchline.