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Overall Rating
4.48

Awesome55.91%
Worth A Look: 39.37%
Average: 3.15%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 1.57%

10 reviews, 67 user ratings


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Insider, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Put the $$ for a pack of ciggies towards seeing this flick"
4 stars

Judging from the three-and-a-half-minute theatrical preview for "The Insider," it looked pretty convoluted --one wonders what they did with a 30-second TV spot! But with a movie such as this, with a load to get off its chest, and a 2-hour and 40-minute running time, how would you cram it all into such a small amount of film?

In its extended version, it certainly isn't muddled, convoluted or confusing. "The Insider" is an angry film, enraged and flaunting it, and it certainly isn't planning on being silenced. Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) is the insider, a research scientist for the third largest tobacco company, who is fired for his "lack of communication." However, the real cause for his sudden release is upon his whistle blowing against the company for not pulling potentially dangerous, and doctored cigarettes. Wigand is approached by Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), a producer from "60 Seconds." Bound by a confidentiality contract, Wigand is barred from revealing anything, even though he wants to, so it's up to Bergman to find ways to get around the agreement. Even once the interview with Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer) is filmed, CBS then orders "60 Seconds" not to air the interview for fear of being sued (which would have compromised their sale to Westinghouse), while Wigand's family is being torn apart, and his life being smeared.
"The Insider" is quite an incisive portrait of Wigand's struggle and decline, among other things, as he serves as the scapegoat for battling the lying cheating and perjuring status of the tobacco industry. The poor guy and his family, "ordinary people under extraordinary pressure" are tested (and many times fails) in respect to holding together. The man's life was made up by simple pleasures, and the camera effectively acknowledges them as it lingers on, sometimes to his children, or while teaching his new high school class.
Director Michael Mann aggressively points fingers, and it's very potent. The movie runs long, but that's because there's a lot to this film. Only in the last 15 minutes do you really start to notice the time. The screenplay, written by Mann and Eric Roth is a serious piece of filmmaking; it's a strong and bold script, one of many Oscar quality possibilities. The style of the film is added to by cinematographer Dante Spinotti, who makes it light and easy on your eyes; and the music by Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke kept a nice tempo and rhythm throughout.
"The Insider" is also effectively casted. Roles by Plummer, Phillip Baker Hall, Lindsay Crouse, Debi Mazar, Bruce McGill, Stephen Tobolowsky, and an assortment of others are one of the strongest assets. The actors became these people, especially Russell Crowe, who, like a man of a million characters, is Jeffrey Wigand. He contains the strongest presence in the film, even more so than Pacino. Pacino is a strong presence as well, but it comes across more as Pacino as the on-screen Pacino. He's angry, volatile, and acting on it. ("No, you (bleep)ed you, don't invert stuff," he roars as he goes to whatever lengths it takes to get the story out.) And being the audience, you feel his anger too.

It's a powerful film, and as it unfolds and reveals itself, the more you'll find yourself in the middle of it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2773&reviewer=172
originally posted: 11/16/99 17:17:18
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User Comments

3/17/13 Chris F Very good kept me interested right the way through 4 stars
10/03/12 decay I was transfixed the very first time I watched it. Top performances from Crowe and Pacino 5 stars
1/28/11 taker one of the greatest movies ever made 5 stars
3/17/10 PAUL SHORTT GRIPPING TRUE STORY WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
8/18/08 mr.mike Good , if slightly overlong (Mann usually is). 4 stars
6/11/07 al smith incredible that american beauty beat this gem at the oscars 5 stars
7/05/06 Indrid Cold Whip smart and emotionally satisfying. Better than Network. 4 stars
10/30/05 Shenny S. Great performance by Crowe. 5 stars
8/20/05 ES This movie made me start smoking after having quit for a year, now that's power! 4 stars
1/05/05 Steve Newman Top class film - Wigand is an awesome man 5 stars
9/30/04 Archanist_101 Good film + it was worth seeing Gina Gershon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/11/04 Ath Not bad, bit lond and winded 3 stars
11/30/03 john gripping drama and superb acting - this one is great! 5 stars
7/06/03 Jack Sommersby Deeply flawed yet supremely entertaining. Great acting all around. 4 stars
6/09/03 Jon Lyrik Awesome movie. 5 stars
5/06/03 Layla Russell Crowe is great 4 stars
2/11/03 The Man No, it's far superior to All the President's Men. 5 stars
11/27/02 Karen total CRAP!!!!!!! 1 stars
9/10/02 BrodieMan Superb ! 5 stars
3/08/02 David Coates A great film. Should have beat American Beauty in the oscars race 5 stars
11/15/01 The Alter Ego This is one exceptionally beautiful piece of work by Michael Mann 5 stars
11/10/01 Steve Marquardt stunning cinematography , egde of your seat drama, fantasic editing and acting all-around 5 stars
8/28/01 Phil M. Afficianado very strong entertainment but it is a lot more than that too. see it. 5 stars
7/23/01 Monster W. Kung "All the president's men" it's not. 3 stars
6/13/01 Mattshat Michael Mann can do no wrong: a riveting 3 hours 5 stars
4/22/01 blllllssssstttttt I Literally slept through most of the movie 1 stars
4/05/01 Hawkeye Check it out, if only to see an amazing performance by Crowe. 5 stars
2/27/01 Elvisfan Crowe miscast; interesting movie that took WAAAY too long to make its points 3 stars
2/06/01 Classicdog Great writing, great acting, great movie. Russell Crowe is terrific in this flick. 4 stars
12/17/00 Mitja Podgajski very good... !! 4 stars
12/16/00 Stewart Ball The best film of 1999. The dialogue is very informative, interesting, and insightful. 5 stars
11/03/00 Cristopher Revilla Smart, Inteliigent, one of the best films of the year!!! 5 stars
10/08/00 Sas Filmed in an eerie way which spooked me. It was great. 4 stars
10/03/00 Leigh Whittaker It was splendiferously great 5 stars
8/26/00 Nanale inspirational for people who live by truth 5 stars
8/01/00 piz slow at times but engaging and gripping..an acting masterpiece. 4 stars
7/05/00 Bruce A superb piece of moviemaking 5 stars
7/05/00 Chris Drake Russell Crowe conveys more info w/one eyebrow than all of filmdom combined-mesmerizing! 5 stars
6/21/00 Dawn Ogden-Barnes A gripping movie. Once again Russell Crowe proves he is jaw-droppingly talented. 5 stars
5/20/00 Steve Kelley Christopher Plummer IS Mike Wallace. 5 stars
4/18/00 Howard West I loved it. I'm a big Russel Crowe fan since LA Confidential 5 stars
4/13/00 punkass Not just interesting & involving, a genuinley important movie 5 stars
3/15/00 Matthew Bartley Excellent thriller considering the subject matter 5 stars
3/08/00 Booyah! A very solid piece of work. Short on big thrills, but heavy on the interest. 5 stars
3/07/00 Pierce Lanson Hey Bitchslap!!-R. Crowe(Australia-N.Z.) is in the cast!!! GREAT film! 5 stars
3/06/00 Captain Highcrime My personal favorite of '99. Engrossing subj. matter, stellar performances & a killer sdtk. 5 stars
3/05/00 Malbert Very impressive, Pacino and Crowe were just *amazing* 5 stars
2/28/00 Tristan why is Russell Crowe's name not at the top - he was brilliant 5 stars
2/22/00 Joel Harwood It dragged on a bit i think AL PACINO should also be nominated 5 stars
2/14/00 Germanicus Pacino is good but Crowe disgusts me. Mann makes best of boring subject. 3 stars
1/29/00 Matthew Smith a rivetting film, superb performances from the two leads 5 stars
1/27/00 Mic Superior drama - up there with Quiz Show and All the President's Men. 5 stars
12/13/99 Beno Pacino at his best! 5 stars
12/12/99 Tyson Stewart It has a cool ambiance and great acting! Some scenes are unimportant. 4 stars
12/11/99 Heather Great, compelling movie, Plummer gave a convincing perf. of Mike Wallace 5 stars
12/10/99 schmegs Great film, really wonderful performances 5 stars
11/29/99 Bueller One of the best films of 1999. Al Pacino's performance has Oscar written all over it. 5 stars
11/28/99 Chet Patel Great acting, I was suprised by Crowe, and Pacino didn't over dramatize his role. 4 stars
11/17/99 Janet Plummer should clear a space on his bookshelf for his Oscar. 5 stars
11/17/99 Jason T. Hollett Russell Crowe infuses this movie with an atmosphere that is its overarching achievement. 5 stars
11/14/99 Kevin Cho, movie-buff Great movie, much tension - simply a great movie. 5 stars
11/14/99 Lame-Oh outstanding, better than that trash Double Jeporady 5 stars
11/10/99 MAXOMENOS Stunningly well done. Out-suspenses Hitchcock, out-trips The Matrix. 5 stars
11/09/99 pipeman A bit long, but brilliant nonetheless. Well written, acted, directed. Excellent film! 5 stars
11/08/99 Cy Phlurm Pacino, Plummer, and Crowe just serve to crowd the Best Actor Oscar race even more 4 stars
11/08/99 Jackie Martin Long, but very engaging. Well told and acted. 5 stars
11/06/99 Roman A long movie but it pulls you in (watching Pacino get pissed is damn entertaining) 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Nov-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Jan-2000 (M)


Directed by
  Michael Mann

Written by
  Michael Mann
  Eric Roth

Cast
  Russell Crowe
  Al Pacino
  Diane Venora
  Debi Mazar
  Philip Baker Hall



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