THE INSIDER directed by Michael Mann

Genuinely frightening and mesmerizing depiction of Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, the chemist who blew the whistle on the tobacco industry and their knowledge that nicotine is an addictive drug.

Fired from his job as a high-paid consultant in the tobacco industry due to “poor communication skills,” Wigand (Russell Crowe) hooks up with Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), a producer for 60 Minutes, who immediately realizes that Wigand has highly classified information that could have enormous repercussions. As the two struggle to come to grips with how to proceed, Wigand's marriage falls apart while Bergman convinces CBS and Mike Wallace to conduct an interview and broadcast the story. However, the owners of the network get cold feet when they learn they could be potentially liable if in fact what Wigand says is true. At this point, Bergman knows his credibility is on the line, not only as a journalist but to Wigand as well. The moral questions begin to take on tragic proportions and Pacino and Crowe are both excellent in their roles—Crowe is especially convincing as the troubled Wigand.

A parable for the ages, and a story that ultimately resulted in the tobacco industries having to choke on their own smoke, in the form of a $250 billion settlement which extends to victims in every state in the country. The Insider is a fascinating movie, and also provides a good dramatization of what goes on behind the scenes of 60 Minutes.

-Wade Iverson


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