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Overall Rating
4.48

Awesome55.91%
Worth A Look: 39.37%
Just Average: 3.15%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 1.57%

10 reviews, 67 user ratings



Insider, The
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by EricDSnider

"Wait ... smoking can KILL you now?"
4 stars

Director Michael Mann accomplishes a few clever feats in his new film "The Insider," but the most amazing one is taking a subject that could easily be of no interest to most people -- journalistic integrity behind the scenes at "60 Minutes," involving a whole lot of talking and almost no big-time movie "action" -- and turning it into one of the most engrossing, interesting movies of the year.

"60 Minutes" producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) meets a man named Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), a recently fired tobacco-company scientist with damning information about his former bosses and their fellow smoke-blowing, "we-don't-believe-it's-addictive" companies.

At the risk of a lawsuit -- he signed a confidentiality agreement with his former employer -- Wigand agrees to blow the whistle on national TV. CBS gets nervous, though, fearing a lawsuit from the tobacco company, and won't let "60 Minutes" air the piece.

Wigand's life has already been destroyed, though, as he testified in a Mississippi court in addition to filming the "60 Minutes" interview -- only now that the piece won't be televised, he's got nothing to show for his trouble.

It's all based on a true story, but that's not used as a crutch. Not once does the movie say, "Hey, this is what actually happened, so it's not our fault it's boring." Instead, screenwriters Mann and Eric Roth, working from a Vanity Fair article, simply make the movie not-boring. There's no need to rely on the "based-on-a-true-story" excuse, because this film is more riveting than most fiction.

Bergman is a bold, in-your-face journalist (he yells ominously at an uncooperative source, "I'm gettin' two things: pissed off and curious!") who also has integrity and compassion. It's the kind of journalist most Americans think doesn't exist anymore, yet rather than making him seem like an idealized Superman, Pacino plays him like he's the most normal thing in the world.

Crowe, too, as Wigand, delivers a fine performance. His difficult decisions, his methods of dealing with the consequences, it's all spread out there before us. We follow him every step of the way, and though he's really just an ordinary guy, we're 100-percent interested in what happens to him.

Again, that's the wonder of this movie. It is, after all, a rather conventional story -- Little Guy vs. Big Guy; moral dilemmas; etc., etc. -- but somehow the direction and excellent performances make it seem so unconventional and engaging.

At 2 hours and 40 minutes, it is a little long. Several shots of nothing more than someone riding in a car or hitting golf balls go on much longer than necessary. But aside from that, this is a satisfying, compelling film, destined to be compared with that other journalistic-integrity movie, "All the President' Men" -- but the comparisons should be favorable.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=2773&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/04/03 04:09:29
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User Comments

3/16/13 Chris F Very good kept me interested right the way through 4 stars
10/02/12 decay I was transfixed the very first time I watched it. Top performances from Crowe and Pacino 5 stars
1/27/11 taker one of the greatest movies ever made 5 stars
3/16/10 PAUL SHORTT GRIPPING TRUE STORY WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
8/17/08 mr.mike Good , if slightly overlong (Mann usually is). 4 stars
6/10/07 al smith incredible that american beauty beat this gem at the oscars 5 stars
7/04/06 Indrid Cold Whip smart and emotionally satisfying. Better than Network. 4 stars
10/29/05 Shenny S. Great performance by Crowe. 5 stars
8/19/05 ES This movie made me start smoking after having quit for a year, now that's power! 4 stars
1/04/05 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
11/29/03 john gripping drama and superb acting - this one is great! 5 stars
7/05/03 Jack Sommersby Deeply flawed yet supremely entertaining. Great acting all around. 4 stars
6/08/03 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
9/09/02 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
11/09/01 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
4/04/01 Hawkeye Check it out, if only to see an amazing performance by Crowe. 5 stars
2/26/01 Elvisfan Crowe miscast; interesting movie that took WAAAY too long to make its points 3 stars
2/05/01 Classicdog Great writing, great acting, great movie. Russell Crowe is terrific in this flick. 4 stars
12/16/00 Mitja Podgajski very good... !! 4 stars
12/15/00 Stewart Ball The best film of 1999. The dialogue is very informative, interesting, and insightful. 5 stars
11/02/00 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
7/31/00 piz slow at times but engaging and gripping..an acting masterpiece. 4 stars
7/04/00 Bruce A superb piece of moviemaking 5 stars
7/04/00 Chris Drake Russell Crowe conveys more info w/one eyebrow than all of filmdom combined-mesmerizing! 5 stars
6/20/00 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
4/17/00 Howard West I loved it. I'm a big Russel Crowe fan since LA Confidential 5 stars
4/12/00 punkass Not just interesting & involving, a genuinley important movie 5 stars
3/14/00 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
3/05/00 Captain Highcrime My personal favorite of '99. Engrossing subj. matter, stellar performances & a killer sdtk. 5 stars
3/04/00 Malbert Very impressive, Pacino and Crowe were just *amazing* 5 stars
2/27/00 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
1/28/00 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
12/12/99 Beno Pacino at his best! 5 stars
12/11/99 Tyson Stewart It has a cool ambiance and great acting! Some scenes are unimportant. 4 stars
12/10/99 Heather Great, compelling movie, Plummer gave a convincing perf. of Mike Wallace 5 stars
12/09/99 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
11/16/99 Jason T. Hollett Russell Crowe infuses this movie with an atmosphere that is its overarching achievement. 5 stars
11/13/99 Kevin Cho, movie-buff Great movie, much tension - simply a great movie. 5 stars
11/13/99 Lame-Oh outstanding, better than that trash Double Jeporady 5 stars
11/09/99 MAXOMENOS Stunningly well done. Out-suspenses Hitchcock, out-trips The Matrix. 5 stars
11/08/99 pipeman A bit long, but brilliant nonetheless. Well written, acted, directed. Excellent film! 5 stars
11/07/99 Cy Phlurm Pacino, Plummer, and Crowe just serve to crowd the Best Actor Oscar race even more 4 stars
11/07/99 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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