The Insider (US, 1999)

Telling it as it is

Ten years after its release, this film stands up very well. Russell Crowe’s best performance and the brilliant Al Pacino, allied to Michael Mann’s excellent direction, make this a very satisfying thriller. In addition its subject matter, corporate lies and cover up, are exceptionally topical given wiki-leaks’ revelations.

Rarely can a widescreen film used close ups so much simultaneously offering a claustrophobic mise en scene – we often see scenes partly through the spectacles of Pacino’s Lowell Bergman – and wide spaces where the world continues oblivious to the events portrayed in the film. Corporate resistance to press investigation – see FIFA’s World Cup decision – is brilliantly dramatised; it is possible that without Wigand’s, and Bergman’s, bravery the Big Tobacco would still be peddling the lie that smoking doesn’t cause cancer.

This is certainly Michael Mann’s best film and I look forward to him dramatising Julian Assange’s heroics.

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