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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 39.84%
Average: 3.13%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 1.56%

10 reviews, 68 user ratings

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Insider, The
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by Slyder

"Warning: Exposing the truth could be hazardous to your career... and life!!"
5 stars

The Insider is like no other film I've seen before. Itís an emotional, suspenseful thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. And yet itís a drama!! I usually see suspense and thrilling moments on many action flicks (Enemy of the State, The Conversation, or any other Hitchcockian film), but nothing like this in a drama. Unfortunately it didn't live up commercially, and why? I've seen the previews and basically what I saw was that they were marketing it as some kind of action or suspense flick. Wrong move. But still, itís hard to market a film that blends suspense and drama in a unique way. But also thanks to this it makes it a very interesting and absorbing film to watch.

The opening scenes, in which Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino at his best as always) is escorted by Hezbollah soldiers in Lebanon to ask permission for an interview with that organization's leader, and the hard-hitting introduction of anchor Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer in his best role to date), are director Michael Mann's tribute to all journalists in the world. It's also an inside look on how journalists risk their lives to get you the stories on the TV news. Dante Spinotti's camera work, in which most scenes is shot with hand-held cameras, builds in an impressive way, the moods and atmospheres of the film, all this contributing to the suspense of the film. It also gives meaning to the scenes, and why are they there. One example is when the film introduces the second main character, Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe in a great performance) in his office in the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company. As the camera focuses on the background, where a bunch of people are celebrating a party and in the foreground, where Wigand is packing his things up, we see that the camera is trying to tell us that while the party goes on in the light, he's been left out in the dark, all humiliated. As he proceeds to the door and drives to his house, the camera again tells us that he's very afraid, afraid of the news that he will eventually have to give to his wife Liane (Diane Venora), which is that he has been fired, and how will he be able to afford to his children. Liane notices in the car that he has a bunch of boxes in his car. Late in the film we realize that is confidential information from another tobacco company that comes from his office, stuff that he'll mail Bergman as an anonymous.

Anyways, lets head to the plot. Bergman, now back in the States, gets interested on the information, and through a friend, he coincidentally gets Wigand's number, he calls in to ask Wigand to be a paid consultant for him in explaining the documents he has. Wigand, fearing for his own family's security refuses at first. But Bergman is insistent, and in the end Wigand agrees. But then the pressure starts piling up with Wigand, because Bergman notices he is angry and he wants to talk about what's been going on within the tobacco industry, but he's constrained, thanks to the confidentiality agreement he signed. But the Tobacco Company adds even more pressure by stalking Wigand, and by threatening him and his family what would happen if he talks. But instead of that, it snaps Wigand and finally is compelled to talk. After the interview is done, it looks like finally the truth is going to be exposed, right? Wrong! Soon things start crashing down as ad the interview is thrown out by CBS management fearing a take over by Brown and Williamson and multi billion dollar lawsuit against them, and launch a smear campaign to trash Wigandís reputation so nobody listens to him on what he has to say about tobacco. But Bergman fights on relentlessly to get his show on the air and to save his career and Wigand's from utter devastation, before its too late.

Throughout the movie, we appreciate Mann's unique directing abilities for this film, giving you several ground breaking techniques on how to keep you on the edge, not with action scenes, but simply with words. The dialogue is the key to this movie, and its the way that the dialogue is set up, along with the actor's performances and the ever going character development that gives this film a unique sense of intrigue, unlike any other drama films I've seen. Dante Spinottiís cinematography is top notch, and despite having hand-held cameras, every shot is precise, and with a reason. The editing work was also important, and thanks to this the film is tightly packed and rolls on smoothly.

One thing clear though, if you see this movie with the idea that its only about cigarettes being addictive to you, you'll be missing the entire point of the movie. The movie is trying to tell you, not only that cigarettes are addictive, but also many companies, no matter what they are, will use everything within their power to prevent you from knowing the truth about some things that are unquestionably wrong within their product. That will include physically and emotionally stalking you and discrediting you within the public eye. That no matter what they will do to stop it, the truth will always come out. And again, if you see this movie expecting a suspense or thrilling flick, make that more of an action movie, you'll be seriously disappointed. This movie is basically a drama, and the reason it works is for the camera work, the character dialogue and development-this in part thanks to the well written and intelligent script by Mann and Eric Roth (Forrest Gump)-, and the editing, which smoothly explains to you what's happening, and what are the psychological effects that the characters are suffering, since you're absorbed through the lens and basically start feeling what the characters are feeling. In other words, like my dad says, itís a film for mentalities that are way above the line of flotation (that means out of the ordinary).

The performances of the actors are essential in the film, and Mann manages to exploit his actors perfectly that every character is not miscast, and not without any flaw. Russell Crowe's performance is the highlight of the movie; he portrays Wigand excellently, from his normal self all the way towards his decline of morale, and then his self-destructive and near suicidal attitude that he suffers at the end. Al Pacino is as riveting as always, though it kind of felt weird seeing him in sometimes such trashed outfits. Christopher Plummer finally gets a great role as anchor Mike Wallace and he pulls it off with style. Those three steal every scene they are, but its Crowe who steals the entire movie .The rest of the supporting cast was also great, and thereís no character left at loose ends.

In the end this is a great movie since the uniqueness of the film is what makes it great to watch. This ground breaking intelligent film sets a new standard for many drama films to come. Again, some of the stuff here may not be mostly accurate, but in the end this film mostly delivers.

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originally posted: 02/09/01 07:03:16
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell overlong but scary they could do this to you 4 stars
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
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 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
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  05-Nov-1999 (R)


  26-Jan-2000 (M)

Directed by
  Michael Mann

Written by
  Michael Mann
  Eric Roth

  Russell Crowe
  Al Pacino
  Diane Venora
  Debi Mazar
  Philip Baker Hall

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