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The Insider (1999)

A movie directed by Michael Mann

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Sterling film making

  • Jul 1, 2000
The film is long; the impact is devastating. The entire cast is so commited that singling out Crowe and Pacino and Plummer seems unfair. The fact that this is a true story makes the film all the more terrifying. Are we really this manipulated by the media, by constraints of big business? Can we ever know the truth about such issues? As long as films like this surface we are fortuantely forced to stand and ask. A triumph of film making that addresses contemporary foibles.

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review by . March 17, 2002
From the very opening shot, as a blindfolded Al Pacino is raced through the streets of Gaza to meet the leader of the Hezbollah to negotiate an interview with 60 minutes, you know that style is going to be important component of this movie. Before that, even, if you're paying attention, since it's a Michael Man flick (he of Miami Vice and Manhunter). And like Manhunter, style gets the better of content, to the point where the content jackknifes halfway though and the film morphs from a fairly routine …
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Grady Harp ()
Ranked #42
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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As revisionist history, Michael Mann's intelligent docudramaThe Insideris a simmering brew of altered facts and dramatic license. In a broader perspective, however, the film (cowritten withForrest GumpOscar-winner Eric Roth) is effectively accurate as an engrossing study of ethics in the corruptible industries of tobacco and broadcast journalism. On one side, there is Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), the former tobacco scientist who violated contractual agreements to expose Brown & Williamson's inclusion of addictive ingredients in cigarettes, casting himself into a vortex of moral dilemma. On the other side is60 Minutesproducer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), whose struggle to report Wigand's story puts him at odds with veteran correspondent Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer) and senior executives at CBS News.

As the urgency of the story increases, so does the film's palpable sense of paranoia, inviting favorable comparison to All the President's Men. While Pacino downplays the theatrical excess that plagued him in previous roles, Crow is superb as a man who retains his tortured integrity at great personal cost. The Insider is two movies--a cover-up thriller and a drama about journalistic ethics--that combine to embrace the noble values personified by Wigand and Bergman. Even if the details aren't always precise (as Mike Wallace and others protested prior to the film's release), the film adheres to a higher truth that was so blatantly violated by tobacco executives seen in ...

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Director: Michael Mann
DVD Release Date: April 11, 2000
Runtime: 157 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Video
First to Review

"Sterling film making"
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