The Insider

D: Michael Mann
Touchstone/Forward Pass (Michael Mann & Pieter Jan Brugge)
US 1999
158 mins


W: Eric Roth & Michael Mann [based on the article "The Man Who Knew Too Much" by Marie Brenner]
DP: Dante Spinotti
Ed: William Goldenberg, Paul Rubell & David Rosenbloom
Mus: Pieter Bourke & Lisa Gerrard
PD: Brian Morris

Al Pacino (Lowell Bergman), Russell Crowe (Jeffrey Wigand), Christopher Plummer (Mike Wallace), Diane Venora (Liane Wigand), Philip Baker Hall (Don Hewitt), Lindsay Crouse (Sharon Tiller), Debi Mazar (Debbie DeLuca), Stephen Tobolowsky (Eric Kluster)

Michael Mann's exposé on big tobacco corporations sees Russell Crowe deliver an excellent performance as Jeffrey Wigand, a whistleblower for a cigarette company ready to unveil the truth about the harmful chemicals the products contain and the company's complicit stance on them. Al Pacino plays Lowell Bergman, a TV producer determined to uncover the truth, but the two men find a series of obstacles in their way, from death threats to the network's refusal to air the report.
This thriller is marvellously directed, utilising moody photography and careful editing to make every scene claustrophobic, building the tension towards its jarring climax.
Crowe is fantastic, Pacino is excellent, but the unsung hero is Christopher Plummer as a forthright interviewer.
Highly enjoyable, but released at a time when the dangers of smoking not being a huge revelation is it's only criticism.
Russell Crowe in The Insider
Russell Crowe in The Insider