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February 8, 2009

4

The Insider

by Franz Patrick


Insider, The (1999)
★★★★ / ★★★★

This film is so intense from the moment it started and the plot only got more complex (not to mention more interesting) from there. This is based on a true story of a man who was interviewed on “60 Minutes” (played by Russell Crowe as Dr. Jeffrey Wigand) to expose the lies of a tabacco corporation, especifically Brown & Williamson, when they claimed that nicotine is not at all addictive and harmful to one’s well-being. Complexity ensues when the tabacco corporation threatens CBS with a lawsuit; CBS then decides not to show the public the interview because they thought that they would lose, which is truly heartbreaking because Dr. Wigand has sacrificed both his professional and personal life for that one (compelling) interview. Lowell Bergman (played by Al Pacino) approaches Dr. Wigand for a story and he shows the audiences what it means to have journalistic integrity. I find it very difficult to summarize the plot of the film because there are many layers to it. The only way to fully understand the picture is to watch it closely because each detail comments on how the media functions, how far corporations are willing to go to protect their money and those unfortunate people that get caught in the giant maelstrom of lies, confusion, and deceit (not to mention death threats and restraining orders). Yes, it’s a wordy film and it will definitely repel those that are not into watching pictures that are all about the technicalities in bureaucracies, but that’s what makes “The Insider” so rewarding: it’s not a common motion picture. There are a lot of highlights in the film but some of my favorites include: Bruce McGill’s anger during Dr. Wigand’s deposition, Pacino’s speech involving a “cat” being “out of the bag,” and Crowe’s scenes when he was alone as he reflects upon his past actions–questioning himself whether or not what everything he’s done is worth it. I felt so much for Crowe’s character because the blood-sucking Brown & Williamson fired him for no reason and then later took everything from him to the point where I felt like Crowe’s character was on the verge of suicide. I highly recommend this film, directed with such visual flair by Michael Mann, because it is able to tackle the idea of character assassination in a very scary but very realistic manner. I will remember this film for a very long time because pretty much everything about it works, especially the intense acting from all the actors involved.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 14 2009

    Visually, Michael Mann’s movies are all classics, and most of them are really great in every other aspect too. ‘The Insider’ is no exception. It’s cleverly constructed and never feels long despite its generous running time. Also, I look back at this film with gratitude because it was one of the last great roles Pacino took before his career went more or less off the rails (‘Angels in America’ being one obvious exception).

    Reply
  2. Feb 18 2009

    Oh gosh, Pacino… His movies have been a flop lately. “Righteous Kill” has been on my Netflix queue for a long time and I keep putting it down the list because I’m afraid to watch how bad it is. haha

    Reply
  3. Feb 19 2009

    I’ve heard so many bad things about it I’m not really sure I wanna watch it anymore. Plus, a friend of mine kinda spoiled the plot twist.

    Reply
  4. Feb 22 2009

    Ooooh, there’s a twist? I’m kind of curious now…

    Reply

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