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Critique Of Movie The Insider Essay

1006 words - 4 pages

Critique of Movie The Insider

A dramatization of 1995 events in which the tobacco industry allegedly covered up proof that nicotine is addictive and harmful. When Brown and Williamson executive Jeffrey Wigand (Crowe) tries to expose the industry's cover-up, he is threatened into silence. He eventually gets his story to 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman (AL Pacino), but CBS decides against airing it due to political and economic pressures, and the threat of lawsuit from Brown and Williamson.

Before we start, I think it's important that you know a little thing about me, and where I'm coming from. I do smoke. But I believe that most of the lawsuits filed against the tobacco industry are unfounded, desperate attempts for people to put the blame on anyone but themselves.

I think social security is a safety net for the financially irresponsible.
I thought The Insider was a great movie from a strictly entertainment perspective (don't get ahead of me on this one!), and I enjoyed it very much.

Russell Crowe is Jeffrey Wigand, a Brown and Williamson VP of Research and Development whose conscience compels him to blow the whistle on the industry. He claims that Big Tobacco has been covering up scientific research that proves nicotine is addictive and harmful. The writing puts a lot of energy into making sure that Wigand is a sufficiently complicated character, and one that we sympathize with. To be sure, he's not entirely one-dimensional. Initially, he does what most of us would do in his position: he takes the money and benefits that the company offers him in return for silence. After all, the guy has a family to look out for. But then Wigand is tortured over his passiveness, wondering if he should take a more aggressive stance with his potentially damaging knowledge.

60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman, sensing a big story in the works, tries to coax Wigand into talking. An energetic Al Pacino, who fights to get the story on the air, only to have it snuffed by CBS, plays Bergman here. Allegedly, the television network was possibly up for sale around the time of this story, and airing it might have damaged their image with controversy, making it less appealing to potential suitors. This, coupled with the threat of lawsuit from Brown and Williamson, made CBS refuse to air the story.

The Insider portrays these events as a crusade on the part of Bergman and Wigand to get the truth out there, against the will of Big Business and Bigger Tobacco. And while Bergman is never portrayed as much more than a journalist with an uncharacteristic amount of integrity, Wigand is a great character to follow as he tries to balance out everything around him. Tortured and sleepless, his reactions are what you would expect from someone forced to choose between the safety of his family with the gravity of what he knows.

Most of it makes for edge of your suit viewing. Suspense abounds, and AL Pacino's confrontations with the "evil" corporate...

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