The Insider (1999)

THE INSIDER is a lot of movie for the money-- two hours and thirty-
eight minutes (phew!) of Big Tobacco, big-time journalism, gag or-
ders, confidentiality agreements, the challenges of corporate news 
ownership, a doughy Russell Crowe bearing the weight of the world 
on his character's shoulders, and the occasional outburst of right-
eous anger by Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, et al.  (Also watch 
out for Bruce McGill, whose unexpected eruption in a Mississippi 
courtroom will sit your straight in your seat!)  Mostly it's grip-
ping, sometimes it's confusing, some other times it's thought-pro-
voking, and, every now and then, it feels dangerously close to a 
product plug for a certain top-rated network news show.  (The film 
is the fictional re-telling of former Brown and Williamson execu-
tive Jeffrey Wigand and what happened to both him and CBS after he 
gave an interview to "60 Minutes.")  Pacino's great, Plummer (as 
Mike Wallace) is very good, and Crowe is a heart-tugger.  (He gets 
*my* nomination for Best Performance By An Actor Playing A Charac-
ter Under Extreme Duress.)  The diverse supporting cast includes 
Gina Gershon, Lindsay Crouse, Debi Mazar, and Wings Hauser.  Mikey  
Mann (HEAT) directs with his characteristically big brush.  He also 
co-wrote the screenplay with Eric Roth, from Marie Brenner's "Van-
ity Fair" article "The Man Who Knew Too Much."

Grade: B

Copyright 1999 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

[an error occurred while processing this directive]