New York Times - 11/05/1999
"...Mr. Mann has directed THE INSIDER with a pulse-quickening panache that heightens the tension within its story....There are stunningly evocative images here..."
USA Today - 11/05/1999
"...Hard-hitting grown-up cinema....With Pacino, we get the best of both worlds: a mostly restrained performance that still offers opportunities for the actor's reliable stack-blowing..."
Total Film - 02/01/2001
"...Compelling and disturbing in equal measure..."
Wall Street Journal - 04/17/2009
"[A] big, complex movie....[It] has the jagged immediacy of real life....[The script] dramatizes the use and misuse of corporate power."
Based on the article "The Man Who Knew Too Much," THE INSIDER depicts the true story of Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), a successful scientist who is fired from the Brown & Williamson tobacco company for objecting to certain lab tests. He signs a confidentiality agreement to ease the company's nervousness, but when hotshot 60 MINUTES producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) recruits Wigand to help him decipher some technical documents, he realizes that there's a bigger story hiding inside Wigand. Eventually Bergman convinces him to break the agreement and sit for an interview with Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer). The resulting media frenzy causes Wigand to lose the support of his family and forces Bergman to confront the harsh reality of his business. Additionally, Wigand is recruited by the state of Mississippi to testify on its behalf that cigarettes are, in fact, addictive. To pay the rent, he begins teaching high school chemistry, waiting for Bergman to convince the network to air the piece. Buckling under corporate pressure, CBS pulls the plug, which sparks Bergman to leak information to the press. As Wigand deals with his personal dilemma, Bergman battles the corporation that begins to show its true colors. Both men must decide for themselves if they've made the right choices.
Like his other films THIEF, MANHUNTER, and HEAT, director Michael Mann takes on the theme of a man trying to do the right thing while trapped by circumstances that could destroy him. Once again Mann pulls terrific performances from his entire cast. Crowe is outstanding as Jeff Wigand, the beleaguered insider who risks everything for the truth. Pacino is suitably tenacious as the once-radical producer Bergman, and Christopher Plummer is excellent as news anchor Mike Wallace. With its brilliant performances and stunning cinematography, THE INSIDER is an emotionally intense film that reveals the consequences of standing up for the truth.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment:
THE INSIDER recounts the chain of events that pitted an ordinary man against the tobacco industry and dragged two people into the fight of their lives. Academy Award(R)-winner Al Pacino (1990 Best Actor, SCENT OF A WOMAN; THE RECRUIT) gives a powerful performance as veteran 60 MINUTES producer Lowell Bergman and Academy Award(R) Winner Russell Crowe (2000 Best Actor, GLADIATOR; A BEAUTIFUL MIND) co-stars as the ultimate insider, former tobacco executive Dr. Jeffrey Wigand. When Wigand is fired by his employer -- one of the largest tobacco companies in America -- he agrees to become a paid consultant for a story Bergman is working on regarding alleged unethical practices within the tobacco industry. But what begins as a temporary alliance leads to a lengthy battle for both men to save their reputations, and much, much more. As they soon find out, Corporate America will use all legal means at its disposal to save a billion-dollar-a-year habit. And as the corporate giants soon find out, Bergman and Wigand are honorable men, driven to smoke out the evidence. Also starring Christopher Plummer (MALCOLM X) as anchor Mike Wallace and Gina Gershon (FACE/OFF), THE INSIDER will chill you with its cold, hard edge -- and thrill you with its unbelievable twists and turns.
THE INSIDER is a gripping motion picture about big-business corruption, featuring a stunning lead performance by Russell Crowe. Scientist Jeffrey Wigand takes on the tobacco industry by breaking his confidentiality agreement with his employer, Brown & Williamson. By granting 60 MINUTES a revealing interview, Wigand's life spirals out of control. He seeks help in Lowell Bergman, the producer who has given his word that he will air the interview in its entirety. Big Tobacco, however, does everything in its power to shut Wigand up, including persuading CBS to shelve the interview he has sacrificed everything to give. As per director Michael Mann's request, this movie is available only in letterboxed format in both VHS and DVD.
Big Business |
Television Programs |
Theatrical Release |
Russell Crowe put on around 40 pounds to portray Jeffrey Wigand. Once shooting for THE INSIDER wrapped, he then had to lose the weight for his role in GLADIATOR.
Director Michael Mann operated the camera on more than half the shots in THE INSIDER.
Mike Wallace filed a lawsuit against the filmmakers, claiming the film was slanderous.
The high school where the real Jeff Wigand taught is used as a location in the film.
The soundtrack to THE INSIDER by Lisa Gerrard (formerly of Dead Can Dance) and Pieter Bourke is available on Sony/Columbia Records. Lisa Gerrard also contributes music to GLADIATOR, as well as Michael Mann's HEAT.