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The Insider More at IMDbPro »

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Top drama

Author: juhana
15 December 2001

Michael Mann proves again to be one of the top directors in the business. Despite its length, the film never lacks pace or tension. Al Pacino is in full form without going over the top and Russell Crowe delivers a stand out performance and shows he's got better from the promise of Romper Stomper. Not for pop corn audiences, top drama.

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Who knew Crowe could act? Good Docudrama.

Author: Ken-202 ( from Columbus, OH
24 October 2001

The Insider

-- 11/20/99

Good Docudrama. ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN it is not, but THE INSIDER is certainly a fine attempt that's as close as any big-budget commercial Hollywood release is likely to get in these days of unforsaken unduly graphic, formulaic, impersonal and overblown mega blockbusters.


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A cool, intelligent film, well told.

Author: morningkeith from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
23 October 2001

This is a cool movie, with a fascinating style. Unlike in his gangster films, Al Pacino here doesn't once fire a pistol; his cell phone and the sword of truth are his weapons this time. But his passion is just as real.

Michael Mann follows Pacino's character, Lowell Bergmann, from a view inside a world that is constantly swirling, with other characters who are constantly approaching, then receding away. And so it is that the enigmatic whistle blower, played by Russell Crowe, remains an enigma, and the truth itself remains more slippery than solid.

Cool movie. Worth seeing.

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Best movie of its year

Author: taimur74
29 September 2001

Fantastic film . First time i saw it i was bored but the second time i was riveted by its purposely slow pacing and brooding atmosphere . Russel Crowe is magnificent as the shy , introverted Jeffrey Wigand , a man who dares to blow the whistle on one of america's most powerful companies . Al Pacino .. what can i say about this actor . He's the big screen's most intense actor and while other actors of his generation have become parodies of themselves he is still giving classics like this one . Cheers .

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How to make an action film with no action

Author: lisarull from Nottingham, England
3 September 2001

This was undoubtedly the movie that Russell Crowe won the Academy Award for, since the Academy invariably hands the little oscar out for the wrong movie in the wrong part of someone's career. (Not that Crowe's performance in "Gladiator" wasn't life changing for many - ahem - but "The Insider" was where he truly ACTED his socks off and then some. And all power to the Academy for being only ONE year late; most actors wait till their twilight years to get their hands on the deserved statuette).

It's a sublime piece of work from Mann, as his fans have come to expect - thoughtful, driven by well-written characters, intelligent scripting and wonderful direction. But of course much of this story comes from the real-life inspiration of Mr Wigand and the 60 Minutes coverage of his whistle-blowing activities on the tobacco industry. It is also a fantastic demonstration of how to make an action movie with NO action. Well, not in the Jerry Bruckheimer sense of the word. For man the action is all in the characters and the beautiful way that Pacino, Crowe and Plummer especially draw you in to their inner worlds. For some, latter-day Pacino is just too much like prime ham - but here just give the movie a couple of viewings and you'll realise how well he acts. It's a wonderful turn and utterly appropriate for a TV producer.

If you want to see a gripping movie this might not be where you would instinctively turn, but trust me - just for the scenes on the golf course, and when Wigand is on the stand about to give his deposition (I climbed the sofa the tension was so immense!) - this film can provide excellent and stimulating 'action'.

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Rich Michael Mann film but not his best

Author: Jugu Abraham ( from Trivandrum, Kerala, India
16 August 2001

I consider Mann to be the second most important living director in the US. I became his fan after I watched Violent Streets (released in the US as ) way back in the Eighties at the Indian International Film Festival in New Delhi. I had then written in the newspaper I was then working for that this director is somebody to watch out for. I am glad that some 20 years later I have been proven right. I consider him next in importance only to Terrence Mallick among living US directors.

It is a shame that those associated with American Academy of Motion Pictures constantly bypass great talent on so many occasions. Overlooking the performances in the Insider and bestowing so many awards for American Beauty is crass injustice. The Insider is superior to American Beauty in several respects, acting, direction, music, photography… At some stage in the Oscar history, this august body will realize that just as Orson Welles was ignored for his early work, great contributors to American cinema who are being ignored are Mann and Mallick. Both of them are consummate filmmakers: who take great care with story, screenplay, acting, editing, photography, sound and music. Mann, unlike Mallick, approaches less philosophical subjects and is therefore appreciated by a larger slice of the public.

Why do I find Insider not to be his best work? The Insider's power is essentially in the content. That it is the work of Michael Mann and cinematographer Spinotti only adds flavor to the product. Mann is a director who could make James Caan, an average actor, appear impressive in `Violent Streets'. If he could do that it is not surprising to find superb performances from Crowe and Pacino in `The Insider'. Compare this with `Heat', whose story needed the superb treatment of Mann and Spinotti to come alive. In `The Insider,' the focus is understandably on the male duo and due to the documentary nature of the subject the women are pushed into the background. In `Heat', while the male duo carry the film, the female characters are not wallflowers–all three wives/lovers grab your attention. Mann had a `compleat' film in `Heat'. That does not mean `The Insider' was not a great work-it had limitations to develop due to the subject.

Another great trademark of Mann is his opening sequences full of kinetic energy injected through sight and sound. However, the opening shots of `The Insider' reminded you of a Costa Gavras/Gillo Pontecorvo type of Sixties cinema, much less impressive than the powerful opening sequences of `Violent Streets' and `The Last of the Mohicans.' Mann, Mallick, and Kubrick are directors who use sound and music with great felicity. In `The Insider' the scene of Wygand refusing to be disturbed in the hotel room is an example of this talent in Mann, with beautiful music, camerawork and special effects.

Has Mann matured over the years? Definitely. Mann directing `The Insider' is more reflective and offers the viewer options to evaluate Wygand and other characters, which `Heat' did not. You begin to like Wygand as he makes the big decision as he stares out at the waterscape. You begin to doubt, as he cannot defend aspect s of his past. You begin to wonder if Wygand is using circumstances to be hero or if he is a true hero as he hits the golf balls in apparent solitude. In `Heat' there was no such ambiguity. His work is much better in `The Insider' than in `Violent Streets'. Yet `Heat' is in my opinion a more demanding and creative work compared to `The Insider'.

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Engrossing plot, dialogue and characters make it zip by

Author: Servo-11 from United States
14 August 2001

I was kind of wary about watching this movie because I have seen a few of Michael Mann's other films and found them nonsensical (Mohicans) or just plain boring (Heat, except for the robbery scene). But this one really caught me up in the story and character development. Pacino gives yet another charismatic performance as Lowell Bergman as he fights to get his story aired on 60 Minutes. And what can possibly be said about Russell Crowe? The man defies being pigeonholed as an actor and his Jeffrey Wigand was a superb characterization, going from persecuted employee to defiant rebel who wonders if it was all worth it after he loses everything. He played a middle-aged man so well that he makes a paunch and white hair exceedingly attractive! :P The almost 3 hour running time just flies by and you see some of the best performances on film along the way!

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One of the Years Best

Author: Bryan (
12 August 2001

This is Michael Mann's best movie, I enjoyed Heat a lot but this movie was even better. Personally I think this movie was better then American beauty which was a great film. Michael Mann's visual style was wonderful and the acting was great but Crowe and Pachino. The year 1999 had some really great movies. I wish 2001 would have have as many good ones.

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Great film!

Author: jtur88 from Michigan
23 July 2001

I'm just getting around tothis one on cable. It has almost no flaws. Great script, talent, imaginative but not distracting camera. I thought Pacino was a little bit too Pacino for the part, but my wife says she's heard interviews with Lowell and it's right on. It's long, but I never looked at the clock once. I can't think of a single frame that ought to be cut in the interest of brevity. This is a must-see for any intelligent, thinking film-goer.

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A tale of truth which slowly emerges.

Author: Trev ( from Birmingham, UK
21 July 2001

It is a rare pleasure to witness on screen a film which not only is enjoyable to watch but will also leave you with a sense of darkness, sorrow and regret.

Strong dialogue and even stronger emotions are displayed by Al Pacino's "live on the edge" character Lowell Bergman and Russel Crowe's whistle-blowing Jeffrey Wigand will leave you saddened and hooked whilst the remainder of the cast give the performances of their lives.

It's a tale of truth which slowly emerges whilst a character's faith quickly falls. A true masterpiece if ever there was one.

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