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I spend way too much time at the theaters.
I'm a slave to the Hollywood Visionaries.  God help me.

THE INSIDER

Directed by Michael Mann

Written by Michael Mann Eric Roth

Starring: Al Pacino, Russell Crowe,
Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall

My Advice: Awesome.
See it on big screen or small, the payoff is super!

Rating: out of

Russell Crowe is Dr. Jeffrey Wigand.  I must say, after Crowe's fabulous turn as the cyber-villian in the years-old Virtuosity with Denzel Washington, it was wonderful to see him working his magic one more time.  Crowe's flustered Wigand possesses some damaging information about his tobacco company employer. Unhappy with the covert office operations, he speaks his mind only to find himself terminated from the job. Enter Lowell Bergman (Pacino). Bergman is a 60 minutes producer who enlists Wigand in translating some scientific material that has fallen into his hands. The problem is, Wigand, who is battling within himself, is desperate to tell someone what he knows. Bergman, of course, can sense this like the journalistic bloodhound he is and wants to air it. Sound like something the big business tobacco cartel is going to stand for? Not a chance. And this is where the story takes off.

I enjoyed this movie immensely. It was clear this was a film about real people. No explosions, no hot moms in miniskirts, no heroic men shooting up on screen villains. That's what makes this movie work. Every character you encounter in this taut, intelligent thriller is the type of person you feel may just sit down next to you on a bus or step in line behind you at the supermarket. Well, with the exception of Mike Wallace (a wonderfully understated Plummer!).  I'm sure someone buys his groceries for him.

The film making is breathtaking here. Mann managed to craft together an astonishingly fast paced thrill ride without the thrill. Does that make sense? It's just one fabulously muted moment interspersed with dramatic photography that leaves you happy and sated upon living the theater. The Insider offers many viewing gifts but, the best gift of all, is it promotes you to think.

What would you do? Could you put your family behind your desire to do the right thing? Would you push someone into doing the right thing knowing it's at the expense of everything they love? Would you and, more importantly, could you for the benefit of man kind?

It's a heady movie with deftly spun moral lesson. See it.

 

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