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Year: 1999
Director: Michael Mann

The Insider Download

Cast:

Al Pacino (Lowell Bergman), Russell Crowe (Jeffrey Wigand), Christopher Plummer (Mike Wallace), Diane Venora (Liane Wigand), Philip Baker Hall (Don Hewitt), Lindsay Crouse (Sharon Tiller), Debi Mazar (Debbie De Luca), Stephen Tobolowsky (Eric Kluster), Colm Feore (Richard Scruggs), Bruce McGill (Ron Motley), Gina Gershon (Helen Caperelli), Michael Gambon (Thomas Sandefur), Rip Torn (John Scanlon), Lynne Thigpen (Mrs. Williams), Hallie Kate Eisenberg (Barbara Wigand), Michael Paul Chan (Norman the Cameraman), Linda Hart (Mrs. Wigand), Robert Harper (Mark Stern), Nestor Serrano (FBI Agent Robertson), Pete Hamill (NY Times Reporter)

Storyline:

This film tells the true story of Jeffrey Wigand, a former tobacco executive, who decided to appear on the CBS-TV News show "60 Minutes." As matter of conscience partially prodded by producer Lowell Bergman, he revealed that, the tobacco industry was not only aware that cigarettes are addictive & harmful, but deliberately worked on increasing that addictiveness. Unfortunately, both protagonists of this story learn the hard way that simply telling the truth is not enough as they struggle against both Big Tobacco's attempts to silence them and the CBS TV Network's own cowardly complict preference of putting money as a higher priority over the truth.

Reviews:

I first wanted to see 'The Insider' because it professed to show the truth behind the lies of the Tobacco Industry. My wife and I saw it and were thoroughly impressed. In fact we've now seen it 5 times (I think, though I may have lost count).

If you go to the movies to be entertained mindlessly, do NOT see this movie, you will bored. This movie is for people who like to think, and who like to receive superior presentation of thought provoking material. The Insider has all that.

The movie gets you thinking about mankind. The obvious problem with human nature is obvious in this movie. The Tobacco companies knowingly selling addictive product, whilst claiming it is not. And then almost, almost but not quite, getting away with ruining an individual's life, an individual who's conscience was pricked by what they had seen.

But then it moves into the CBS drama, where again the hopelessness of mankind in general shines through. The strength of two individuals though manages to win the day, which is what makes this true story so unusual.

I found that (contrary to those who complained of the movies length) every scene that Mann has given us has a reason. A good reason. From the opening scenes depicting an evil far from USA. To the hints as to why we didn't hear anything about the drama when it happened, because the OJ murder story and media frenzy drowned out what should be to us all a much more serious matter.

For me the crowning moment in the film was when Russell Crowe (as Wigand) was about to dig into a hamburger when behind him on TV a newscaster reported findings about him, bad (though unfounded) findings. Crowe put his knife and fork back down in a way that told us all that he had no more appetite, in fact all the will left in him had been violently thrust away, thrust away by the selfish interests of the Tobacco companies.

All in all this is a complete movie that deserved its 7 nominations and should have gotten some awards. The sound was great, as was the camera work. If you love an artistic movie, you will love this one. Crowe is thoroughly believable and has cemented himself as a first rate actor, capable of playing just about any part put his way. Pacino is very well cast, Plummer is a class act, and a host of supporting cast did themselves proud.

What we can't forget about this movie, for all its drama, and for the pointed view it gives us of the nature we bear, its a TRUE STORY. Thats what really makes it shocking. And only those driven to the ends of despair and loneliness such as Wigand and Bergmann were, can really truly realise another fact pointed out in the movie, in the end of it all, we are nothing anyway, so what does it all matter?

See it!

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I'll make this simple for you with short attention spans: Al Pacino's best performance of the 90s. Russell Crowe's best work on par with LA Confidential (if not better) and a gripping shot by Christopher Plummer as 60 Minutes anchor Mike Wallace.

For those who can handle it, read on:

Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) has been fired from his job. He has to break the news to his wife (Diane Venora, who I believe should go on to be one of the best actresses of all time) that their beautiful home, swank cars and health care plan (their oldest daughter is athsmatic) are about to go down the tubes. He's been given a severance package but that's about to fall apart as well.

Enter Lowell Bergman (Pacino), producer for CBS Television News' bastion of journalistic integrity, 60 Minutes. Bergman's doing a report on fires that were started by careless smokers and has been given a report so huge and full of technical jargon he can't make heads or tales of it. Through a friend he is put in touch with Wigand in the hopes of finding a translator. Wigand thinks Lowell is coming after him because of what he knows about his former employers, a major tobacco company.

It is at this moment that director Michael Mann institutes a trick, the likes of which hasn't been seen since All The President's Men. The two exchange a cat-and-mouse conversation via fax. Bergman finally calls Wigand's bluff by daring him to meet him the next day. He does.

What does Wigand know? Well, its all over the papers these days about how the tobacco industry lied about manipulating the leaves to make them more habit forming. We have Wigand to thank for that. But that isn't where the story ends. This is a two-fold tale; on one hand you have the self-destruction of a man who put everything on the line just so he could do the right thing. On the other, you have a television producer who so believes in the integrity of himself, the network, and his show that he is willing to risk everything he has to fight for the protection of his source. I haven't seen this much commitment outside of Woodward and Berstein's staunch protection of "Deep Throat."

The trump card of this film though comes in the form of Christopher Plummer playing one of the most visible news figures of the past 25 years, Mike Wallace. Wallace teeters on the edge of looking like a foul-mouthed, celebrity hungry, media hound who's only thought is about ratings. However, before its over, he evokes the "integrity of Edward R. Murrow," a line that gave me chills and made me pray for an Oscar Nomination.

Director Michael Mann is known chiefly for his Action/Thrillers. This 155 minute film is slow paced but gripping for ever second it is on the screen. A lot of people have complained over the past 7-8 years about Pacino's "staccato" performances, suddenly shouting at the slightest provocation. This film returns him to his prime form, a style he hasn't walked in since Dog Day Afternoon, ...And Justice For All and Serpico.

Anybody got a light?

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