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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > The Insider

MOVIE REVIEWS

THE INSIDER (1999)

Starring Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall, Lindsay Crouse, Debi Mazar, Stephen Tobolowsky, Colm Feore, Bruce McGill, Gina Gershon, Michael Gambon, Lynne Thigpen, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Michael Paul Chan, Gary Sandy, Breckin Meyer and Rip Torn.

Screenplay Michael Mann and Eric Roth.

Directed by Michael Mann.

Distributed by Touchstone Pictures.  157 minutes.  Rated R.

 

Everyday Beautiful

 

The Insider

It's hard to believe that just 20 years ago, it was possible for a news show to come up with a story which could totally destroy a multi-billion dollar industry.  However, as The Insider shows, even then it was not that easy.  Corporate cowardice and legal maneuvering came very close to scuttling this story, which in the end precipitated the - if not fall, at least major swoon - of cigarette companies in the US.

The Insider is a slightly whitewashed version of the story of Jeffrey Weigand, a former management worker for major tobacco company Brown & Williamson who became a whistle-blower in a story for the iconic news magazine 60 Minutes, only to have his life disrupted, his family threatened, his new job as a teacher smeared, and eventually find that due to legal worries by CBS Television, his story would not even run.

It's real life as a corporate espionage thriller and the two and a half hours fly by much more smoothly than you'd expect.  And this is mostly down to an intriguing story and some spectacular acting.

Russell Crowe - hard on the heels of his breakout performance in LA Confidential - became a star in his role as the whistleblower.  He played up against a fiery Al Pacino as 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman, a veteran of the news wars who would give his all for a good story, but had no patience for office politics.

In all, word is that The Insider played a tiny bit fast and loose with the truth to deify Bergman.  Supposedly 60 Minutes anchor Mike Wallace (very well played by Christopher Plummer) fought for the story much harder than this film credits, and show runner Don Hewitt (Philip Baker Hall) also gets a bit of a bad rap.

However, even if The Insider is massaged a bit for cinematic purposes, it is a brilliant, bracing piece of filmmaking and well worth watching.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 19, 2013.

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Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 19, 2013.

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