The Insider (***) – A lot of thinking goes on during The Insider. Some by the viewer and a ton by the two main characters. So much thinking goes on during scenes in this movie that sometimes you forget if you’ve heard any dialogue at all. And, for the most part, that’s OK, because this is a film that is more fascinating and intriguing than truly suspenseful.The Insider being tauted as a thriller has as much credence as The Bone Collector being described as an actual movie. The Insider doesn’t tense one up (at least not me) the way both All the President’s Men and The China Syndrome did, primarily because issues that occurred in those movies could affect me without any fault of my own. Tobacco companies are sons-of-bitches and the revelations of the 60 Minutes interview here only confirm that, but no one “has” to start smoking. That being said, The Insider is a terrific piece of filmmaking by the always-reliable Michael Mann. Al Pacino is terrific as always, mannered and determined, and not getting a chance to yell until the final hour. But Russell Crowe is the potential Oscar nominee with yet another complex performance communicating his inner anger and frustration without having to play it over-the-top. Christopher Plummer also gets his best role in years as newsman Mike Wallace. The real Wallace should be pleased with his interpretation. Frankly, I don’t know what all the fuss is about over this film’s portrayal of 60 Minutes execs handling of the situation. Wallace comes off a lot better than stories you may have heard about him. I liked how the script allows its title to refer to both Lowell Bergman and Jeffrey Wigand and the information that threatens their organizations. And the relationship between those two wonderfully well-developed characters is tightly scripted and very satisfying.I think my ultimate problem with the film was its pacing. It doesn’t have the breakneck revelations of All the President’s Men or the noose-tightening suspense of The China Syndrome and it could easily have been trimmed by about 15 or 20 minutes. Of course, if you’re not a smoker then those 15 or 20 minutes don’t really matter that much.