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
The real Jeffrey Wigand asked for two concessions from the filmmakers: that they change the names of his daughters, and that there be no smoking anywhere in the film. With the exception of one cigarette puff in the Middle East opening sequence, both requests were granted (except for the three small instances previously mentioned). See more »
The driver's window changes from open to closed to open again when Wigand tells his wife he's been fired and then drives off. See more »
From scene one, this film delivers a long slow burn as the tale of power and corruption unfolds. There is little action, but the film is steeped in an atmosphere of tension and high drama. The direction by Michael Mann is masterful, an object lesson in how to frame shots and let silence, as well as words - and music - work for the story. Al Pacino is once more the great actor of early films such as 'Scarecrow', instead of the theatrical performer of recent films. Russell Crowe shows his solid 'ordinary guy'character as more tortured through losing his family than any of the macho scenes he portrayed in 'Gladiator.' A superb film.
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