The Insider Essay, Research Paper
Not long ago Big Tobacco was spanked with billions of dollars in settlement money for class action lawsuits, due largely to the courage of whistleblower scientist Dr. Jeffrey Wigand. The former chief of a scientific research department with a major tobacco company, Wigand was fired for speaking out against the use of lethal, addictive chemicals added to cigarettes. He was also made to sign a confidentiality agreement, effectively silencing him.
Wigand testified, against great odds, about classified scientific studies that indicated that the leaders of all major tobacco companies had committed perjury before Congress. Each of them had acknowledged their belief that tobacco was not addictive, while secretly figuring out ways to increase a cigarette’s fix.
This taut and profound film by director Michael Mann tells of the scandals that exploded when 60 Minutes segment producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) arranged for a segment — with an special interview of Wigand (Russell Crowe) — blowing the lid off the tobacco scandal. Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer) was the journalist who eventually conducted the interview with this man who was challenged and fought at every turn.
When the crunch came and a smear campaign against Wigand was launched, lawsuit-shy CBS blinked, airing a butchered version of the expose. What happened next becomes a crusade the film follows as though searching for the Holy Grail.
Plummer is spectacular as a keen, crafty Wallace, revealing the details of a noble man who knows his legacy counts for something. Pacino breathes fire into his role as an outraged moralist holding his own in the shifting ethical sands of broadcasting. And Crowe is remarkable as the haunted hero faced with crises.
The Insider explores trust like a private Dick looking for a missing person. It tells what happens when men and women of power tangle with complex issues like honor, money and the heavy weight of public welfare. We see people wrestle with their consciences — and we realize it’s not just fiction. The inner dynamics of network news are examined, and not in ways that are favorable to the 60 Minutes staff. This is a lengthy flick with complex strands of tension that unravel naturally as the victims and villains do their dramatic waltz.
I intensely enjoyed The Insider and give it two enthusiastic thumbs up . The plot kept me on the brim of my trousers throughout the whole movie and the suspense (building from start to finish) gave me the willies until closing credits. I am an avid Al Pacino fan and adulate any/all of his movies. He is a gripping actor with an immense amount of raw talent. To anyone looking for a remarkably exceptional movie or just a movie to take some chick to The Insider is right for you.
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