The Insider | Chicago Reader

The Insider

Based on Marie Brenner's 1996 Vanity Fair article “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” this 1999 docudrama exposes Big Tobacco with low-key fervor. It resists obvious opportunities to sensationalize the dilemmas of a former head of R and D who had to decide what to do with what he knew and a 60 Minutes producer who found he didn't necessarily have the support of his network, almost cagily creating understated drama from high-stakes reality. The grandiose visual style of director Michael Mann (Manhunter, Heat), whose intensive expressionism also motivates the editing and the use of sound and music, enhances the material—this may be the only issue movie I've ever seen that's also abstract art. Mann wrote the screenplay with Eric Roth; with Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, and Christopher Plummer. 160 min.

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