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
Al Pacino and Nestor Serrano previously appeared in City Hall (1996). See more »
When giving his deposition in Mississippi, Wigand spells his name R-E-Y-G-A-N. See more »
The subheading reads, 'Brown and Williamson has a 500 page dossier attacking chief critic.' It quotes Richard Scruggs calling it, 'the worse kind of an organized smear campaign against a Whistleblower'. 'A closer look at the file and independent research by this newspaper into its key claims indicate that many of the serious accusations against Mr Wigand are backed by scant or contradictory evidence'.
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The TV version is actually longer than the theatrical version and was extended over two nights. The edit was supervised by director Michael Mann. See more »
I first wanted to see 'The Insider' because it professed to show the truth behind the lies of the Tobacco Industry. My wife and I saw it and were thoroughly impressed. In fact we've now seen it 5 times (I think, though I may have lost count).
If you go to the movies to be entertained mindlessly, do NOT see this movie, you will bored. This movie is for people who like to think, and who like to receive superior presentation of thought provoking material. The Insider has all that.
The movie gets you thinking about mankind. The obvious problem with human nature is obvious in this movie. The Tobacco companies knowingly selling addictive product, whilst claiming it is not. And then almost, almost but not quite, getting away with ruining an individual's life, an individual who's conscience was pricked by what they had seen.
But then it moves into the CBS drama, where again the hopelessness of mankind in general shines through. The strength of two individuals though manages to win the day, which is what makes this true story so unusual.
I found that (contrary to those who complained of the movies length) every scene that Mann has given us has a reason. A good reason. From the opening scenes depicting an evil far from USA. To the hints as to why we didn't hear anything about the drama when it happened, because the OJ murder story and media frenzy drowned out what should be to us all a much more serious matter.
For me the crowning moment in the film was when Russell Crowe (as Wigand) was about to dig into a hamburger when behind him on TV a newscaster reported findings about him, bad (though unfounded) findings. Crowe put his knife and fork back down in a way that told us all that he had no more appetite, in fact all the will left in him had been violently thrust away, thrust away by the selfish interests of the Tobacco companies.
All in all this is a complete movie that deserved its 7 nominations and should have gotten some awards. The sound was great, as was the camera work. If you love an artistic movie, you will love this one. Crowe is thoroughly believable and has cemented himself as a first rate actor, capable of playing just about any part put his way. Pacino is very well cast, Plummer is a class act, and a host of supporting cast did themselves proud.
What we can't forget about this movie, for all its drama, and for the pointed view it gives us of the nature we bear, its a TRUE STORY. Thats what really makes it shocking. And only those driven to the ends of despair and loneliness such as Wigand and Bergmann were, can really truly realise another fact pointed out in the movie, in the end of it all, we are nothing anyway, so what does it all matter?
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