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2,828 Ratings

The Insider

Directed by Michael Mann
United States, 1999
Drama, Biography, Thriller


This is the true story of Jeffrey Wigand, a tobacco industry whistleblower, as he came under fire for a 60 Minutes interview he gave. Although the story was pulled, Wigand was the subject of numerous lawsuits and smear campaigns.

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The Insider Directed by Michael Mann

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

2000 | 7 nominations including: Best Picture

National Board of Review

1999 | 2 wins including: Best Actor

BAFTA Awards

2000 | Nominee: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Despite the crutch of his reliance on eyeglasses always sliding down his nose, Russell Crowe has never been better than in The Insider, a gripping whistleblower thriller and surely the best ever film based on a Vanity Fair article (by Marie Brenner). The Insider succeeds because it starts small (the background of a 60 Minutes segment exposing tobacco industry malfeasance) and locates extreme drama and righteous anger as it meticulously fans out and zooms in.
February 04, 2016
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…Now, as a Mann acolyte, I can see how he’s working out several of the techniques that will come to define his digital work. The shot/reverse shot sequences, especially, are disorientingly close, sides of ears floating in collapsed space. Both this and Ali seem like the prestige films that lead Mann back, from Collateral on, to pulp poetics. Crowe is terrific in ways I didn’t appreciate on first view—a charismatic star wearing a fitted yet suffocating middle-class "person suit.
August 02, 2015
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Mann’s meticulous directorial style applied to such a carefully constructed screenplay resulted in one of his finest films. “The Insider” may seem like an anomaly in Mann’s filmography, riddled with thieves, gunmen and cops on the brink, but they all share a Hawksian sense of men staring down convention and overwhelming odds.
July 16, 2014
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What are people saying?

  • lbunuel's rating of the film The Insider

    The first half convinced me. Mann moves the camera intelligently, grippingly, and the digital texture is the real motor of the film. Then he lets go of the thriller premise & embraces the painfully obvious morality tale of "good men vs. corrupt world." It all goes downhill from there. And Crowe is unwatchable.

  • Warren Spratley's rating of the film The Insider

    A devotional, almost sacred commemoration 2 unequivocal truth, to "grace & consistency." Grace & consistency: Mann's aesthetic principles. Mann constructs characters who, at least partially, parallel his philosophical viewpoint. Whether by landscape, sound, or close visual proximation, M.M. uses form for emotional reflection, profound introspection. In Mann's cinema, the world communicates principles to us, a gospel.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film The Insider

    The sterile way Mann photographs the marching, circling business suits, their emotionally vacant wearers and their simple, blunt abuses is a perfect contrast to our paranoid, righteously furious protagonists. Spiritually, "The Insider" is very much a tale of man versus machine; perhaps the most realistic, stirring, and grounded such a story has ever been.

  • Z's rating of the film The Insider

    Two men enter into mythic combat with opposing forces much bigger and more powerful than themselves. They win a hard fought battle at great personal cost, but it becomes clear by the end of the film that a larger war against corporate censorship of media has been lost. This is Michael Mann's personal peak as an artist and a filmmaker. The themes and issues this film deals with are more relevant now than ever before.

  • Phil Worfel's rating of the film The Insider

    My favorite Mann. This is the performance Crowe should have received his oscar for. Tense all the way through with great cinematography. The secondary roles here are also perfectly cast and Plummer is awesome as Mike Wallace!

  • Nick Block's rating of the film The Insider

    Very good story, and good acting. The score was absolutely atrocious. I mean, I know Mann is deaf, but really?

  • dionysus67's rating of the film The Insider

    A film of rare virtuosity by contemporary standards this is a subtle and high calibre political diatribe aiming at the heart of corporate corruption. Pacino may as well deliver his greatest performance (the subtlety of body language has seismographic accuracy) in what is a predominantly male triumph. Mann's editing creates a mental landscape appropriate to the Pyrrhic act of dignified defiance of the system's claws.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film The Insider

    A film so meticulously crafted, both visually and narratively, that every scene delivers something breathtaking. It might be a shot, a line of dialog, the design of a living room, a glance... sometimes all at once. It’s a pulse-pounding reflection on the state of the media and a love letter to the seekers of truth. “I’m running out of heroes. Guys like you are in short supply.” I feel the same about you Mann...

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