Movie Review: The Insider (1999)

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Whistleblowing is a topic that has been very relevant these past few years, especially after the whole Snowden ordeal in 2013. For those of you who don’t know, whistleblowing is when you expose secrets about a company or something of that nature that they would like to keep secret. In other words, blowing the whistle on them, hence the name “whistleblowing”. I can give you two examples of well known whistleblowers; Erin Brockovich who blew the whistle on a company that was the reason for people getting sick in a small town in California. And then we have our second example, Edward Snowden who leaked secrets of CIA/NSA spying on regular civlians through the internet as fecently as 2013. Okay, this intro became longer than expected… shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Insider”.

In this movie we follow real life whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) who was convinced by producer/journalist Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) to go on the show “60 Minutes” and give confidential details and expose a huge tobacco industry. And from that we get an excellent plot. The plot is filled with fantastic suspense and drama that keeps you on the edge through the entire 2 hours and 37 minute runtime. While some events have been fictionalized for dramatic effect, most of it is actually accurate. But the blend of the real and the fictional is so fantastic that it will keep you guessing which is which. And that is what I loved about the plot, the seamless combination of real and fake, suspense and drama.

The characters in this movie are all compelling, fleshed out and feel like real people. And the actors in the movie do great jobs as them. This is definitely one of the best performances I have ever seen from Russell Crowe, he is excellent in this movie. He shows a lot of emotions in the movie and he has a bunch of little nuances that enhance his performance a lot. And Al Pacino was also great in this movie as Lowell Bergman. This is what I would call one of his more “quiet” performances. Don’t get me wrong, he does some shouting in the movie, but not as much as in a lot of movies. He is definitely less over-the-top and shout-y than in Michael Mann’s previous film “Heat”. Remember Pacino in “Heat” and his “great ass” monologue? Yeah, it was weird.
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The score for the movie was done by Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke with a few tracks respectively by Graeme Revell, Gustavo Santaolalla (yay!), Jan Garbarek and Massive Attack. And despite there being so many different composers/artists working on the soundtrack it all feels very cohesive and not messy at all. All tracks come together to create a very atmospheric and suspense building soundtrack that helps the movie keep you on the edge of your chair/couch/floor/great ass.

This movie was directed by Michael Mann and it shows because this movie is dark, gritty and it all got a great tone. And the cinematography by Dante Spinotti is just as gritty as the overall direction and is therefore fantastic. The shots all look great and it manages to make the movie feel much more tense than if you had used any other director/cinematographer. Also, if you watch this, be prepared with a lot of popcorn and drinks because it is a long movie. Sure, “Heat” is even longer, but “The Insider” is still really long… so make sure you are loaded up on snacks and such. But I guess some of you take that as a challenge with the reaction of:
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This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 84/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie was also nominated for 7 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best Actor (Crowe), Best director, Best adapted screenplay, Best cinematography, Best film editing and Best sound. 

“The Insider” is a suspenseful and dramatic corporate thriller with and excellent plot, terrific acting/character, great music, excellent direction/cinematography and some terrific writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Insider” is a 9,87/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“The Insider” is reviewed.

Two days in a row that I have reviewed a movie with “Inside” in the title… strange.

 

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