The Insider (1999)


Michael Mann, with the help of screenwriter Eric Roth and a great selection of actors, created a truly phenomenal thriller-drama based on true events, on one of the biggest business-corporate scandals and conspiracies. Also, the film belongs to the domain of biographical drama, a genre very dear to me, which, as a rule, throws out great projects.

The film tells the story of Jeffrey Wiegend, a scientist employed by a tobacco company who was fired because he opposed the company’s immoral policy, which of course knowingly endangered the health of its cigarette buyers in order for sales to continue to grow. Lovell Bergman is the producer of the show “60 Minutes” on the CBS television company, who, while researching data on the tobacco industry, meets Dr. Jeffrey. When he realizes that he knows all about concealing information about the harmfulness of smoking, Bergman begins to persuade him to appear on the show and reveal it to the public. But Jeffrey, even though he was fired, still binds the contract on the confidentiality of data related to the work of the company. Despite constant pressures and threats that threaten his family, he decides to tell his story and give an interview to Bergman. However, after a lot of trouble, CBS refuses to broadcast the interview.

The events shown in the film took place in 1994, and the basis for the screenplay was a journalistic story by a certain Mary Brenner entitled “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, published in Vanity Fair.

After the film was released for distribution, there was various controversy and negative criticism from people from the tobacco industry, especially those who were familiar with the case and those who collaborated on the film. Some have even accused the production house of distorting the truth. They were bothered because there were a couple of scenes, especially scenes that referred to Jeffrey’s life being endangered, while later the producers apologized and said that those scenes were refined and exaggerated (filled) for a better dramatic effect in the film.

“The Insider” is a very intelligent, tense, instructive and impressive film by a director who specializes in slightly longer films, so this project also lasts over two and a half hours. The script is great, but at times you get the impression that it is too stretched. The entire project was done extremely professionally and with quality, which is confirmed by as many as seven Oscar nominations, but he did not manage to take any statue apart from the hellish competition that year.

The cast is great. The main protagonist is played by the great Russell Crowe, my favorite actor after Edward Norton, who has no bad roles in his career. Lovela Bergman is played by the living legend Al Pacino, a man who simply captivates with his appearance, always comes to the fore, no matter who played with him in the film. So it is in this case, he is more impressive than Russell, but in the sense that his performance was great, and Paćin’s fantastic. Christopher Plummer provided a standard good performance in the role of Bergman’s fellow journalist.

This is not an action thriller, but a project that shows more how society works. If you are expecting a tense action blockbuster thriller, you will be grossly deceived. A thought-provoking film – a true biographical drama that cost the tobacco industry $ 245 billion in losses after all. Here are just as many reasons to look at it.