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The Insider

August 30, 2010

The Insider (1999)
Director: Michael Mann
Actors: Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer

the-insider-pacino-crowe_jpg_351x0_crop_q85.jpg (351×212)

Synopsis: The life of Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) begins to fall apart after he agrees to become a whistleblower against the tobacco company he used to work for. Newsman, Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), struggles to get Wigand’s testimony aired on TV.

Review: Michael Mann has ingeniously crafted an inspirational parable about individual and social conscience by supplanting the aesthetics of the thriller genre to a contemporary story of ethical dilemmas in the tobacco and media industries.

Despite this highly dramatic bent, Mann retains the integrity of the source material – helped by the film’s excellent realisation (handheld, jittery cameras, a starchy palette) and superbly generous ensemble acting. Russell Crowe in particular deserves great credit for playing against type in portraying the insider Jeffrey Wigand without demonstrating the physical transformation, and Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer are simply perfect as the producer/reporter double-act battling against litigation threats to get Wigand’s testimony aired. (October 2005)

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