One of the events we enjoy in our home is a weekly movie night. Its a pleasant way to unwind and relax while spending time together with loved ones.
True stories put to film, when done well with great actors are not that easy to find.
The Insider, a film released back in 1999 should be on everyone’s “Have-to Watch List.”
This intense drama features two of my favorite award winning actors: Russell Crowe and Al Pacino.
Russell Crowe: Dr. Jeffrey Wigand
Crowe’s superb acting in The Insider impressively reveals what Dr. Jeffrey Wigand was up against as the central witness is one of the biggest tobacco industry lawsuits in history. It began with a court filing in Mississippi that lead to filings in 49 other states. Wigand was a top scientist who held discriminating inside information and when he choose to go public with what he knew the drama begins.
His disclosure of deeply buried and publicly withheld tobacco industry knowledge in the end lead to a settlement of $246 billion dollars. Crowe’s performance was top notch and the unfolding story keep us on the edge of the couch.
Al Pacino: As Lowell Bergman, Investigative Reporter
Lowell Bergman is a reporter that works with a Mike Wallace character (played by Christopher Plummer) of the “60 Minutes” TV show. The two men taped an interview with Wigand that revealed devastating statements against Big Tobacco and planned to air the show on 60 Minutes. Due to the power, potential threats, and corruption of Big Tabacco they also arranged a legal defense team for Wigand. Then the story gets very dicey just before this show is to air CBS corporate makes a decision to cancel airing the discriminating interview.
This corrupt and courageous story goes on to reveal how Bergman and others fought to reveal the truth and facts Wigand held. These dramatic events fractured loyalties and lead to divisions within 60 Minutes. As the drama unfolds, Wigand was subject of a smear campaign of national attention and a lawsuit by Big Tobacco where he faced possible incarceration. Along with all the pressures he faced due to his decision to go public his marriage was deeply effected which lead to a divorce.
One would hope that such a dramatic story would be based on fiction, but this was far from fiction. The amazing tenacity of Bergman and Wigand, two men fighting to reveal a devastating truth withheld by the almighty Big Tobacco is an extraordinary document of events. In the end neither character walked away unchanged, and their lives were never the same.
By the time the movie ends you will have experienced so many emotional ups and downs. Its one of the greatest factual stories ever told, and its so well written, directed and acted. Be sure to queue The Insider at the top of your list.
Here’s the trailer to see a peak view of The Insider.