Balls-out "60 Minutes" producer Lowell Bergman sniffs a story when a former research biologist for Brown & Williamson, Jeff Wigand, won't talk to him. When the company leans hard on Wigand to honor a confidentiality agreement, he gets his back up. Trusting Bergman and despite a crumbling marriage, he goes on camera for a Mike Wallace interview and risks arrest for contempt of court. Westinghouse is negotiating to buy CBS, so CBS attorneys advise CBS News to shelve the interview and avoid a lawsuit. "60 Minutes" and CBS News bosses cave, Wigand is hung out to dry, Bergman is compromised, and the CEOs of Big Tobacco may get away with perjury. Will the truth come out? Written by
When Bergman goes to Wigand's house for the first time, he covers his head from the rain with a newspaper running a story on the conclusion of the O.J. Simpson murder trial (The headline is "Simpson Freed"). The OJ trial only started in November 1994 - long after Wigand was fired in March 1993. See more »
This is a movie that I was on the fence about seeing, simply because it seemed like just another movie about a whistle blower. It is so much more than that, and it is a movie worth watching time and again because of its complexity. It is about journalistic integrity, corporate greed, good vs. evil, and standing up for what you believe in, no matter what the cost. It pulls no punches about how far the tobacco industry would go to hide the truth from the American public about cigarettes, but it never seems propagandized.
Russell Crowe gives a top-notch performance of Everyman scientist Jeffrey Wigand that meets Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer's portrayals of 60 Minutes Hotshots Lowell Bergman and Mike Wallace frame by frame. These three actors have the perfect blend of chemistry and timing, and fit their characters like a glove. They completely inhabit their roles and at times it seems more like a documentary than a fictional story.
From beginning to end, it has the kind of edge of your seat tension that keeps one glued to the screen. Despite being a fairly lengthy film, it moves at a quick pace, and is absolutely riveting. The direction is superb, the camera angles are fast and furious, and it is a delight to watch.
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