Movie Review

The Insider (1999)

MPAA Rating: R

Details Rated: R; Genres: Drama, Historical, Mystery and Thriller; With: Russell Crowe and Al Pacino; More

In Michael Mann's engrossing exercise in '70s-conspiracy-movie nostalgia, Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), a producer at 60 Minutes, makes contact with a chemist named Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) and convinces him to reveal that tobacco companies fiddled with the nicotine content of cigarettes. The movie, which anatomizes the corporate-media culture as an ominous vertical system, presents CBS' decision not to run the story as the end of Western journalistic integrity as we know it. Except that the system didn't fail—it triumphed. (It was 60 Minutes that failed.) The Insider is a good but far from great movie because it presents truth telling in America as far more imperiled than it is. As Mike Wallace, Christopher Plummer is the juicy quintessence of ham. B

Originally posted Nov 12, 1999 Published in issue #512 Nov 12, 1999 Order article reprints

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