Gripping and powerful, The Insider is based on the story of tobacco executive turned whistle-blower, Jeffrey Wigand. This edge of your seat thriller recounts the chain of events that saw an ordinary man up against a corporate giant in the fight of his life.
Excellent but requires concentration
- The Insider review by RP
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You rated this film: 5
Superb. This is a drama based on a true story, starring Al Pacino, Russell Crowe and Christopher Plummer in the lead roles. Crowe plays a research chemist employed by a tobacco company to head research into a non-carcinogenic flavour enhancer. When he tells the CEO that a non-carcinogenic substitute cannot be found, the company insists on continuing the use of the carcinogen and fires him with a substantial payment but gagging him with a confidentiality agreement. Crowe turns whistle blower – he is the insider who knows the truth that the big tobacco companies are not telling.
Al Pacino plays the role of producer of the US documentary TV show '60 Minutes' and Plummer the presenter of the show. Pacino persuades Crowe to be interviewed and tells him that he will protect his source. But Crowe's ex-employer finds out and proceeds to ruin his personal and professional life with legal proceedings and a smear campaign, not to mention death threats.
This is a long and wordy film but I found it gripping. It is the first Russell Crowe film I've seen in which he actually acts rather than simply playing Russell Crowe. Pacino plays a typically intense role, in my opinion one of his best since 'Serpico'. Plummer is excellent as the TV journalist and presenter.
The film was nominated for 7 Oscars but lost out to 'American Beauty' + Kevin Spacey, but has picked up many other awards. It really is excellent but requires concentration as it's certainly not an action thriller. 5/5 stars - highly recommended.
As fiction it would be tense enough, as fact it is exhausting. The devastating effect of whistle blowing on the whistleblower is always underestimated and I for one would never have the nerve. I deeply respect those who are courageous enough to sacrifice their own safety and happiness to expose the truth, knowing that their efforts will probably be wasted. Why would we?.. probably because someone else is willing to help and support. Inspirational.