THE INSIDER: DARK LOOK AT WHISTLE BLOWING
STEPHANIE M. WILSON
The Insider is based on the true story of research biologist Jeffrey Wigand. It takes an inside look at the tobacco industry being exposed. The tobacco industry knew about the addictive nature of tobacco and lied about it. This is one man’s story and how he lost everything to expose them, along with 60 Minutes and how they made it public.
Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) has just been fired from Brown and Williamson, a tobacco company. He was made to sign a confidentiality agreement so he would get a severance package and benefits. He is put in contact with Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) who needs an explanation of some fire safety material. Brown and Williamson gets wind of Wigand helping Bergman. They threaten him and tell him he must sign a new confidentiality agreement that is more detailed. They tell him if he doesn’t they will take away his severance pay and health insurance for his family. Wigand’s declines to sign new agreement and tells them to stick it. Wigand and Bergman go through hell and back to expose this company and the lies they are telling along with the rest of the tobacco industry.
The story is inspired by true events. It is dramatic and shows true sacrifice to change the world. It is heavy material and is not your typical popcorn movie. Russell Crowe is wonderful as Wigand. You only see this man who is risking himself and his family for the greater good. You see him being broken down. Pacino is effective as Bergman. Crowe and Pacino show their connection in a key scene where Wigand gives Bergman a breakdown of his career and how he has been affected. Christopher Plummer as 60 Minutes newsman Mike Wallace is a key supporting player. Threats come to Wigand and his family in the form of a bullet in a mailbox, computer messages, etc. They make their point.
The film tends to drag in some parts due to its heavy subject. It can also be hard to follow. Again, not your typical, popcorn movie.
The tobacco industry and their lying is brought to a head in this detailed story. It shows what Jeffrey Wigand had to give up to make the world a better place for his daughters. Michael Mann (Heat) shows his capability with profound material.