Monday, September 16, 2013

Insider (1999)

Insider"The Insider", a theatrical delight, is a well cast, brilliantly acted, and ingeniously directed movie. I cannot say enough about this film!

Russell Crowe is pheonominal as the socially-conscious scientist,Dr. Jeffrey Weigand. Mr. Crowe, one of my favorite actors since first seeing him in "L.A. Confidential", brings multiple dimensions to his character. One the one hand you applaud Dr. Weigand for being so courageous in spite of the threats he receives from "big tobacco". On the other hand, you sense his pain, and the fear he has for his family. It is all in the eyesRussell Crowe emotes like few actors can. WE WILL BE PULLING FOR HIM ON OSCAR NIGHT!

While Russell Crowe is truly the star in this film, one certainly cannot overlook the outstanding performance turned in by Al Pacino. Mr. Pacino lives up to this movie's expectations, and provides wonderful depth in his character. The pure sarcasm in several of his lines leaves you laughing inside, while silently saying to yourself, "you know, this guy has a point!" Watching Al Pacino is a delightand in the end, you hope he not only wins the right to produce TV as he sees fit, you are hoping that his character gets a raise! Al Pacinoyou are not worthy of a "supporting actor" nomination, you are in a class all your own!

Lastly, we cannot forget the performance of a veteran actor, Christopher Plummer. Mr. Plummer shows sides of Mike Wallace that you imagined were there, but have never been able to see. Mr. Plummer gives the movie perspectiveand plays the depressive Mike Wallace with stunning accuracy. In the end, you forget that Mr. Plummer is an actoryou begin to think that the real Mike Wallace is the true actor! I will be looking for more good things to come from Mr. Plummerhe has made me a fan!

This movie is as put together as it can get. The cinematography, direction, etc. give this film power. There are no lullsyou remain firmly entrenched in the plot throughout this movie. The sets, the tone, the music, it all blends together like a great cup of coffeewarm and enjoyable. Michael Mann reels you in, and does not let go. He takes you on a wild rideyour heart races, your eyes tear, your palms sweat, and you squirm in your seat. He does his job, and he does it wellhe MOVES you.

This story of one former tobacco scientist taking on big tobacco in an effort to bring awareness of health hazzards to the general public via television, will go down as a modern-day classic. The "behind-the-scenes" look at TV production, and more specifically, "60 Minutes", gives the general viewer an idea of not only how much time is spent producing a 15-minute segment for network TV, but shows the consequences on a man's life for being brave enough to care. I applaud Jeffrey Weigand, a hero to America. I also applaud the makers of "The Insider" , for having the courage, stamina, and awe-inspiring vision to bring this film to life.

This movie is riveting, engaging, and extremely well done. The performances by Crowe, Pacino, and Plummer are especially sharp and on edge, and the direction by Mann is,as always, simply superb. From the opening frames illustrating the cache, access and raw power a TV program like Sixty Minutes offers its producers and stars to the immediately introduced suspenseful counterpoint of Philip Wigand as a man caught in a terrible moral dilemma, this movie is absolutely terrific.

While one relates to Russell Crowe's superb depiction (truly an Oscar-caliber performance) as the man who almost singlehandedly eventually breaks the back of the tobacco conglomerates, I found myself also captivated by Al Pacino's performance with a thoughtful and emotional coda as a smart and street savvy TV producer skating hellbent for leather over the dangerous edges between his personal morality and the seductive but corrupting pressures of a super-competitive and absolutely testosterone-crazy TV program. Likewise, Christopher Plummer's interpretation of Mike Wallace as an egotistical and morally obtuse dilletante who perhaps has stayed at the party overlong is a joy to observe. If it is at all accurate, maybe it's time to finally retire, Mike!

This is a movie that explores the way in which all the powers that be seem to be growing deaf, dumb, and blind to the rights and needs of the individuals in the society, as Wigand finds out quite quickly, to his despair. He finds himself compromised no matter which way he turns, and in an absolutely riveting scene played to the hilt, decides to do what's morally right regardless of the personal consequences. This seemed to be one of the quiet messages imbedded in the movie, that we all need to be more moral and have more intergrity in how we approach ourselves, each other, and the world at large. Amen to that, brother Mann.

Nice to see such extraordinary every-day heroism depicted and lauded on the silver screen. of course, life is never so simple as when it is most complex, and this movie certainly deals with some very controversial issues in an engaging, provocative, and thoughtful story we all can enjoy and learn from. This is a serious, disturbing, and dramatic movie I want to own and pull off the shelf periodically to watch and think about. I think you'll appreciate it too.

Buy Insider (1999) Now

"The Insider" is by far, the best motion picture of1999. It focuses on the lives of Dr. Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe),vice president in charge of research for Brown & Williamson Tobacco, and Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), a veteran producer for the much-respected "60 Minutes" CBS news magazine. Recently fired from his cushy 6 figure job, Wigand soon faces the dilemma of whether or not to violate his confidentiality agreement and expose the disturbing truth about cigarettes, or to keep silent and protect his family. Bergman, meanwhile, must try to coax the story out of Wigand, while protecting him and sidestepping legal snaffus which arrise and fighting to get his piece aired. "The Insider" features top-notch performances from its cast, top to bottom, particularly from Crowe, as the brave yet terrified Wigand. Director Michael Mann keeps the story moving and keeps his audience interested throughoutnot an easy task for a 3 hour movie. What really enhanced my enjoyment of this movie was the terrific hand-held cinematography by Dante Spinotti. His camera is often perched over Wigand's shoulder, and we as an audience feel as if we are right there with him as he franticly searches for the answers. I suppose a lot of people avoided this movie at the box office due to its length and its subject matter-and its their loss. If you like the movies with explosions and gunfights then rent something else. If you like an engrossing, thought-provoking movie with terrific performances, then "The Insider" is the movie for you.

Read Best Reviews of Insider (1999) Here

The Insider is great on so many levels. It is perfectly acted by an expert cast, with Russell Crowe delivering without a doubt the best performance of the year. Al Pacino has been great for so long that is is easy to take him for granted, but he makes you sit up and take notice of his talent here, giving a performace that is both slightly over the top and deeply felt. Christopher Plumber was amazing as Mike Wallace, he managed to impersonate the well known newsman perfectly and also make him a relatively sympathetic character. Phillip Baker Hall, as always, gave a rock solid supporting performance as the 60 Minutes producer who kept the segment in question from airing. The cinematography was great, the handheld camerawork adding a sense of urgency to every scene. And, maybe most importantly, the story was deep, thoughful, and entertaining. The characters were brilliantly developed, and the story was gripping. The Insider is over 2 and a half hours long, but it isn't boring at all. Michael Mann is one of the best directors currently working, all of his movies have a distinctive look,an attention to detail, and a certain intangible intellegence. The Insider has an abundance of all three of these qualities.

Want Insider (1999) Discount?

Tackling the subject of latter day history takes a great deal of precision. The first thing a film maker, taking on something such as the multi-billion dollar suit levied against the tobacco industry by the United States, must do is narrow their focus. This is what Michael Mann's "The Insider" does. Instead of becoming a sprawling film that takes on all the evils of society in the form of a cigarette company, it narrows in on the idea of media and corporate relations.

This film does not make its heroes out to be saints. They all have motives, which can be considered selfish. This is the most compelling aspect of the film. Jeffrey Wigand is a practical white-collar American who is not often driven by emotion but rather by cool headed American values such as providing for his family. When he is pushed by his former employer (tobacco company B&W) he goes to his one instance of emotional redemption (taking the information he knows to the press, in the form of Pacino as a 60 minute producer) and puts everything he has gained in jeopardy.

Sometimes long but perfectly stylized, this film owes much of its power to Russel Crowe whose transformation into Wigand (white-haired, overweight and ready to explode) is the stuff serious drama is built on. The supporting characters who work at 60 Minutes and CBS are note worthy as well. While not having as much emotionally invested in the situation, Pacino is effective as a workaholic newsman who takes on some of Crowe's fire.

Lastly is something that I normally don't usually give much weight to when it comes to movies. This is an important story to be told because many people don't realize that the facts represented here are true (maybe not entirely accurate) and, more importantly, serve as a model as how far reaching events will go down in the modern world.

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