Director Michael Mann was a well-established filmmaker even before the release of ‘The Insider’ in 1999, whether it be through television series like Miami Vice and Crime Story or motion pictures like Thief, Manhunter, The Last of the Mohicans, and Heat.
Based on the true story of a 60 Minutes segment about tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand, The Insider is a corporate thriller that has garnered rave reviews from both critics and audiences alike.
The fictionalized account of the true story is compelling enough to bring in some of the finest actors, including Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, and Christopher Plummer to do justice to the script and the director’s vision. The outcome is indeed awesome and you don’t even realize the entire length of the film which is precisely 2 hrs. 37 mins.
The Insider tells the story of a man Jeffrey Wigand (played by Russell Crowe) who is willing to expose the ill motives of the big players in the tobacco industry and how some of these industry giants are knowingly ignoring the dangers of their products.
Wigand, who was working as a scientist for a tobacco firm, Brown and Williamson, comes in contact with Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), a producer for 60 Minutes on the channel CBS News and later agreed to give an interview to the channel.
With his readiness to expose the tobacco industry, Wigand was trying to cope with his family on the same matter, as his wife left home with their kids. Meanwhile, to make the matter worse, the news channel stopped the telecast of the interview at the last minute after Brown and Williamson threatened a multi-billion dollar lawsuit.
This follows several questions such as media accountability and its control by big corporate houses, which is widely prevalent in today’s world. Nevertheless, Russell Crowe delivered an explosive performance as someone who took the risk of his personal and professional life by choosing to stand against the tobacco industry and suffering immensely because of the series of events.
On the other hand, Al Pacino is amazing in playing the lead media person. All in all, The Insider has solid entertainment value with suspense, drama, and truth but never tampered with the facts.
‘The Insider’ – Movie Trivia
- The film is based on a 1996 Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner titled, “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.
- Mike Moore, the Attorney General of Mississippi, plays himself for the scenes involving the lawsuit.
- The courtroom where Jeffrey Wigand gives his deposition is not a set. The filmmakers used the actual courtroom in Jackson County Mississippi where the real Wigand’s deposition was given.
- The Insider cast includes three Oscar winners: Russell Crowe (2001-Gladiator), Al Pacino (1992-Scent of a Woman), and Christopher Plummer (2010-Beginners); and three Oscar nominees: Rip Torn (1983-Cross Creek), Douglas McGrath (1994-Bullets over Broadway-screenplay), and Lindsay Crouse (1984-Places in the Heart).