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The Insider (1999)
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Review Date: November 04, 1999
Director: Michael Mann
Writer: Michael Mann and Eric Roth
Producers: Michael Mann and Pieter Jan Brugge
Actors:
Al Pacino as Lowell Bergman
Russell Crowe as Jeffrey Wigand
Christopher Plummer as Mike Wallace
Plot:
Cigarette company Vice-President gets fired after he disagrees with company policy on how to produce their cigarettes. When his firm begins tossing veiled threats towards him, the man gets angry and thinks seriously about exposing his industry's lies about nicotine addiction to a worldwide audience on TV's "60 Minutes". This movie documents the entire events of this true-life historical case.
Critique:
Interesting story...great actors...well-developed characters...unique style...do not an overall great film make. This film suffers from something that a lot of major films from big name directors have been suffering with over the past year or so: it runs too long and is not engrossing enough to warrant our attention for that lengthy amount of time. It's too bad because the story told here is definitely one that has all the elements of an engaging drama set in place, but when spread across a canvas so vast, it seems to lose any emotional power or deeper resonance. Another thing which I've only recently noticed in Michael Mann's last two films is his lack of female character involvement. It's strange because he seems to have plenty of women in his films, but along with questionable casting calls, they do little but stand around and appear on screen.

The main actors in this film are all in their top form, with Christopher Plummer finally getting a decent role from which he could orchestrate his talent. Pacino is perfect as the idealistic producer who realizes early on that all he's truly got in his corner is "his word" and he doesn't intent on losing it. Give the man an Oscar just for keeping his acting decibel level on an even keel! (Hoo-hah!) And then there's Russell Crowe pulling off another powerful performance as the pudgy whistle-blower, whose real-life counterpart apparently commended Crowe of his portrayal (Click here to see picture of real-life counterparts). Having said all that, the story told in the film was really just another behind the scenes movie about an industry and a specific "story gone bad", but nothing more dramatically effective than that. I'm not sure if people are equating this film's greatness with the grandeur of its actual ramifications (which eventually led to a court ruling of approximately $250 BILLION against the tobacco companies), but I thought the drama in the film was simple and interesting, but nothing more. I would suggest you see it if you love any of the main actors, or if the story line is of particular interest to you, otherwise, you could wait for video and fully appreciate the reason why fast-forward buttons were created. C'mon Michael...how 'bout cutting out some of those lingering slo-mos for God's sakes!!
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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