HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
   
 
Newest Articles
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
   
 
  Insider, The Big Tobacco Is Watching You
Year: 1999
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall, Lindsay Crouse, Debi Mazar, Stephen Tobolowsky, Colm Feore, Bruce McGill, Gina Gershon, Michael Gambon, Rip Torn, Lynne Thigpen, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Roger Bart
Genre: Drama, Thriller, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sixty Minutes in 1995 was one of the highest-regarded, and highest-rated, news magazine shows in the United States, and Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) was one of its most powerful producers - or so he thought. For a man who managed to get their most respected news presenter Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer) interviews with the kind of people who simply did not agree to interviews, Bergman thought that his journalistic integrity, and that of his colleagues, was second to none. But then along came Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), who had just been sacked from a tobacco corporation and was feeling as if he had something to get off his chest...

Many of Michael Mann's films could be accused of preferring the clinical detail to the emotional response, and those attempts to hit the audience in their feelings could be misjudged or overblown in too many cases, whereas his strengths lay in the setpiece, the expert, precise handling and presentation of story and scene. That was to say, perhaps he was a better technician than anything else, yet The Insider was an anomaly to that view, as it contained a slow-burning sense of outrage that funnily enough was far more effective than Mann's usual macho concerns. This was still about men proving themselves in their chosen arena, but there was more to it.

The two main characters are starkly drawn, but not simplified to the extent that they might as well have been wearing the white stetsons while the tobacco men wore the black ones. Really both the Wigand and the Bergman of the film needed to be quickly understandable because elsewhere Mann and co-writer Eric Roth did not skimp on the facts of the case, regardless of their dramatic licence, which drove their story along, leading to so much information that the whole thing sprawled over the two hours mark quite substantially. And yet, if you were willing to pay attention, after it was over and you were digesting the injustices of the incidents depicted, it would not have come across as lengthy as it actually was.

Much of this was down to the righteous indignation at the movie's core which fueled its momentum and provided Crowe with a role that truly put him on the world's acting map, and offered Pacino one of his most satisfying performances of the decade, even better than the one he had supplied in Mann's Heat. Certainly there were the "tics" that he relied on increasingly at this stage in his career, the raised voice, the fireworks whenever things did not go his character's way, but they were all in valuable service to a plot that had something important to say and never resorted to having Pacino or Crowe lecturing the audience. Indeed, it was about an hour into the drama before we found out what the big secret Wigand was trying to expose about the tobacco companies was.

That secret being that the heads of the companies, in spite of testifying otherwise, were in full knowledge that their product was a death-dealing and addictive drug, and to make matters worse, they were researching ways to make it more addictive to ensure sales remained high. Essentially they were killing their customers, and had to be convincing enough to fresh meat that they should try their chances with cigarettes - once tried, it was the corporations' dream that they would be hooked for life, however shortened that would be. But after Wigand recorded his whistleblowing interview with Sixty Minutes, the powers in tobacco, and shockingly in the businesses they had influence in - like the news show's sponsors, CBS, for example - fought to not only keep him quiet but ruin his life.

Wigand notices himself being followed, gets silent phone calls, strangers waiting outside his house at night, and eventually death threats which lead to a smear campaign as Mann makes the point that if you choose to speak out against injustice, you'd better be prepared for your own reputation to be put through the wringer because under the type of scrutiny that modern media in the wrong hands is able to drum up, they can make anyone look guilty and/or a liar. While The Insider looked on the surface to be championing the kind of crusading journalism that put it on a par with All the President's Men, actually it had more in common with those seventies paranioa movies like The Parallax View as a cynicism took over. Yes, it says, the little guys won this time, but look at the cost, and look at the drubbing that a respected source of news, of supposed truth, received. It was probably Michael Mann's best work, and in its way, very sobering at that. Music by Pieter Bourke and Lisa Gerrard.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2596 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Mann  (1943 - )

American writer/director whose flashy, dramatic style has made for considerable commerical success on the big and small screen. After writing for television during the late 70s, he made his debut with the thriller Thief. The Keep was a failed horror adaptation, but Mann's TV cop show Miami Vice was a massive international success, while 1986's Manhunter, based on Thomas Harris's Red Dragon, was one of the decade's best thrillers.

Last of the Mohicans was a rip-roaring period adventure, Heat a dynamic if overlong cops 'n' robbers story, and The Insider a gripping real-life conspiracy thriller. 2002's Ali, Mann's much-touted biography of the legendary boxer, was a bit of an anti-climax, but as ever, stylishly rendered. Mann's next film was the thriller Collateral, starring Tom Cruise as a ruthless contract killer, and his big screen updating of Miami Vice divided opinion, as did his vintage gangster recreation Public Enemies. His cyber-thriller Blackhat was a resounding flop.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: