On the edge of exposing one of the decade's most incendiary public health issues, "60 Minutes" television producer Lowell Bergman must convince former tobacco industry insider Dr. Jeffrey Wigand to reveal the truth about the practices of cigarette companies, although the consequences to his career and family may be ruinous.
Michael Mann directs this taut thriller about the tobacco industry whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand with pulse-quickening panache. And he illustrates why, in the corporate climate of the 90's, truth-telling is a riskier business than it was circa "All the President's Men." While Al Pacino delivers galvanizing moral outrage as a producer for "60 Minutes," and Christopher Plummer wickedly mimics Mike Wallace, Russell Crowe movingly captures the complexity of Mr. Wigand's situation. Shaky docudrama ethics cloud the film's take on "60 Minutes." But this is an inordinately well-played thriller, with Mr. Mann's stylistic brio at its best. — Janet Maslin
1999-11-05 | Janet Maslin | Read the New York Times Review of The Insider