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The Insider [DVD] [2000]

69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora, Philip Baker Hall
  • Directors: Michael Mann
  • Writers: Michael Mann, Eric Roth, Marie Brenner
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Avi Kleinberger, Gusmano Cesaretti, Kathleen M. Shea
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Subtitles: Polish, Italian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios HE
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Jan. 2001
  • Run Time: 151 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004WCM4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,455 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Michael Mann directs this gripping expose of the cigarette industry, based on a true story. '60 Minutes' producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) contacts Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), a former research employee of tobacco giants Brown and Williamson, after being anonymously sent some damning documents regarding the company's activities. Wigand reveals that B&W were aware their product contained dangerously high levels of nicotine - likely to cause cancer - and agrees to be interviewed for Bergman's programme. As a result of this, Wigand is placed under increasing pressure to hold his peace; he receives numerous death threats, his marriage begins to disintegrate, and he becomes the subject of a smear campaign. When Bergman attempts to arrange for Wigand to present a disposition as part of the Mississippi state's case against the tobacco giants, the move is blocked, and it seems that both men's efforts will amount to nothing.

From Amazon.co.uk

As revisionist history, Michael Mann's intelligent docudrama The Insider is a simmering brew of altered facts and dramatic license. In a broader perspective, however, the film (co-written with Forrest Gump Oscar-winner Eric Roth) is effectively accurate as an engrossing study of ethics in the corruptible industries of tobacco and broadcast journalism. On one side, there is Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), the former tobacco scientist who violated contractual agreements to expose Brown & Williamson's inclusion of addictive ingredients in cigarettes, casting himself into a vortex of moral dilemma. On the other side is 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), whose struggle to report Wigand's story puts him at odds with veteran correspondent Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer) and senior executives at CBS News.

As the urgency of the story increases, so does the film's palpable sense of paranoia, inviting favourable comparison to All the President's Men. While Pacino downplays the theatrical excess that plagued him in previous roles, Crowe is superb as a man who retains his tortured integrity at great personal cost. The Insider is two movies--a cover-up thriller and a drama about journalistic ethics--that combine to embrace the noble values personified by Wigand and Bergman. Even if the details aren't always precise (as Mike Wallace and others protested prior to the film's release), the film adheres to a higher truth that was so blatantly violated by tobacco executives seen in an oft-repeated video clip, lying under oath in the service of greed. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Feb. 2003
Format: DVD
These kind of films (ie Parallax View, All the President's Men, The Conversation etc) were staple parts of the halcyon days of Hollywood in the 1970s, but died out somewhat in the 80s onwards.
So it's nice to see Michael Mann pick up the reins and show that in these days of exploding White Houses and strangely attired superheroes that he is the most sensitive and character focussed director around.
Based on an article that appeared in Vanity Fair, centred around the plight of 'whistle blower' Jeffrey Wigand, the film centres on the efforts of both Wigand and Lowell Bergman in exposing the unsavoury practices of the so called 'Big Tobacco' companies in increasing nicotine levels in cigarette produce to keep 'users' buying. When Wigand - essentially an executive chemist at one of the big companies - began questioning the ethics of such practices, he was hounded out of his job and tied up in legal tape to prevent him spilling the beans. Bergman, a producer on 60 minutes attempts to untie the tape . . .
Stunning visuals and a brilliantly direct script, allied to Crowe's mesmerising performance as Wigand and a more-measured-than-of-late performance by the legendary Pacino, mean this film flies past - quite an effort when it's three hours long.
One of Mann's strengths is, as I have said, characterisation, and he is careful not to deify either lead. Wigand in particular is presented as a flawed, lonely man, generally untrusting and uncomfortable around others. Crowe certainly merited his Oscar nomination and should feel robbed in not winning the award. Gladiator should be regarded as pay off for The Insider.
The set pieces are, as we have come to expect from Mann, sublime.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. Humphreys on 8 Sept. 2003
Format: DVD
To say that anyone outside the US won't fully understand this film rather misses the point. This isn't just a film about CBS, nor is it only about the evils of the tobacco industry. It is about how ruthlessly profit-driven business firms can bully, threaten and ultimately destroy the life of the little guy. It is about how they can use their financial power to manipulate the media into presenting the public with a distorted version of the truth. Such themes apply to far more than mere American domestic issues - they are problems inherent in big business and the media worldwide. This makes 'The Insider' a very important film. There is a classy director at the helm in Michael Mann, and a pair of live-wire lead actors in Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, who both give sympathetic portrayals, but are never cardboard cut-out heroes. This is a must see: it will change the way you think about the way in which corporations and the media work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Dec. 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Just when you thought that Hollywood had given up making quality films altogether, out comes this first class piece of film-making.
Excellent performances all round. This is the sort of part that Al Pacino can play with his eyes shut, but it is Russell Crowe who steals the show for his portrayal of a man caught between a legal obligation to turn a blind eye to what he has seen in the tobacco industry and a compulsion to tell the world what is really going on.
Even though Kevin Spacey's Lester Burnham in American Beauty was certainly a worthy winner of the best actor Oscar, Crowe's performance in this film out-ranks it and in my opinion should have won it.
While this is a long film, it's not over-long because of it's ability to keep your attention and take the audience along with the story it is telling.
This film is taken from real life events and it shows, because it has a definate sense of authenticity about it. It makes you believe what is really going on.
This is, quite simply, the best film I have seen in ages. Full marks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By bfarrell_uk@yahoo.co.uk on 11 Sept. 2000
Format: DVD
Al Pacino gives his best performance since the Godfather Part II and Serpico. Over the years his performances have taken a theatrical tone, which works well in overblown films such as The devils Advocate, but I found brought a state of unrealism to his films. Not so in The Insider, it is so understated, that you forget that it is Al Pacino, he becomes Lowell Bergman.
Russell Crowe puts in a career best performance, I'm glad I saw this before Gladiator, because as much as I love that film, I dont know if Crowe will be able to give as much credence to these types of roles(see L.A. Confidential, Romper Stomper, Virtuosity, for an idea of this guys range).
In any other year this film would have won all the oscars, except it was up against the magnificent American Beuty, which only won it by a hair width.
I dont know how this film will transfer on to the small screen, because the photography has a very epic feel, and the Soundtrack has to be experienced in full digital surround sound.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By jonty rodes- oav14493634@aol.com. on 9 Oct. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this film with my girlfriend at an afternoon showing at my local multiplex,there were not a great deal of people watching,and the majority were restless or sleeping by the end. these people missed an astounding film.
The main performances are very powerfull- with Russel Crowe showing just what an amazing actor he is.
It is one of those films you dream about, a film that draws you in and for the lenghth of the film-the only the thing that matters.It is brilliantly directed by Michael Mann-very stylish as always,and although long at nearly 3 hours,you never get tired of watching.
Pacino and plummer add great performances in an unforgettable film.
Truly worth watching.
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