I finally got around to watching The Insider a seven time nominated Oscar film which stars a brilliant cast. The story is an adaptation of a Vanity Fair article written by journalist Marie Brenner involving the Tobacco industry and “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”
The cast includes:
Philip Baker Hall
I think the first three names on the list speak for themselves as very accomplished actors in the industry, but truly the large cast that includes many scenes with minimal screen time all do a wonderful job.
The Insider’s title speaks for itself. This is a story about the infamous tobacco industry and how it makes its money while fooling millions and buying its way out of legal loopholes. The thing I loved about the story was that it tied the “60 Minutes” theme into it very well, so for us media fans we really get a treat on the insides and out of how Mike Wallace and his crew acquire such groundbreaking stories. In fact the movie itself opens up with a great scene from Mike Wallace in the middle-east, his fortitude and acknowledgment of himself is quite intriguing to watch. Wallace knows he’s “the man” he doesn’t change his ways for anyone, even at the most tense of times.
Meanwhile Wallaces talented producer Lowell Bergman finds one Jeffrey Wigand “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” Wigand is a chemist and a very smart man who was a former employee of Brown & Williamson. Wigand is the key to the story, and Bergman knows if he gets this man to speak to the world, well the rest will be history literally. Ratings will be off the charts, “60 Minutes” will have its groundbreaking piece and Mike Wallace will continue to be the spotlight reporter. Of course Wigand fears what may happen if he spills the beans about this controversial industry, not only that but he has signed a confidentiality agreement that binds him to secrecy. We quickly wonder will Wigand put it all on the line and be the “man of the people” or will he keep quiet, avoid all risks and stay bottled up for the rest of his life.
The suspense is riveting and once again Michael Mann does a tremendous job of keeping you gripped without the massive explosions on screen. This is truly a dialogue/script driven movie, lengthy for a few but between the acting and story telling The Insider is a must see for movie lovers.
Russell Crowe plays the man himself Jeffrey Wigand. Wigand has a wealth of information to share but knows by sharing it his life and his family can be in legitimate danger. If you think you know what pressure is, I highly recommend watching what this man has to go through. I am a huge fan of Russell Crowe and this role ranks right at the top for me. He is truly put in a situation that can help and hurt equally, and what unfolds makes the role and story so interesting.
Al Pacino has a laundry list of incredible roles, and this makes the list longer. Al plays Lowell Bergman a highly talented producer for “60 Minutes” and Mike Wallaces right hand man. Bergman is a go getter, he gets what he wants and he befriends who he needs. The relationship between him and Wigand quickly grows into a great one, making Wigand lean closer and closer to telling the truth no matter what the repercussions are. Al is as passionate as ever in this one, he quickly became my favorite character in the movie.
Christopher Plummer plays the star himself Mike Wallace. Wallace is cocky, confident, and has been in the business for years. He demands respect no matter who his guest is, king, queen, prince… hey i’m Mike Wallace. Plummer needs no explanation his resume speaks for itself. Wallace does not overpower the movie by any means, in fact you quickly forget about Mike and focus on Wigand and Bergman. I think director Michael Mann used Plummer’s acting ability at all the right times and it really rounds out nicely.
These are the big three that dominate the movie, along with other accomplished actors.
The film is a modern masterpiece of the 90’s and is written, casted, and presented in a classy manner.
My 1-10 scale = 9