David Bruce
Here is a movie about the high price of truth and personal integrity.  This film can be used as a powerful soul searching tool.
-Review by David Bruce.

Exposing the Truth May Be Hazardous

Directed by Michael Mann
Writing by Marie Brenner
(article The Man Who Knew Too Much by Eric Roth)

Al Pacino as Lowell Bergman
Russell Crowe as Jeffrey Wigand
Christopher Plummer as Mike Wallace
Diane Venora as Liane Wigand
Philip Baker Hall as Don Hewitt
Lindsay Crouse as Sharon Tiller
Debi Mazar as Debbie De Luca
Stephen Tobolowsky as Eric Kluster
Colm Feore s Richard Scruggs

Produced by Pieter Jan Brugge, Gusmano Cesaretti (associate) Michael Mann, Kathleen M. Shea (associate), Michael Waxman (co-producer)
Cinematography by Dante Spinotti
In the $246 billion tobacco settlement, the most expensive case brought against an industry in U.S. history, Jeffrey Wigand was a central witness. Wigand, former head of research and development and a corporate officer at Brown & Williamson, was a top scientist, the ultimate insider. No one like him had ever gone public before.

     Meanwhile, Lowell Bergman, investigative reporter and "60 Minutes" producer, mostly for Mike Wallace segments, arranged a legal defense team for Wigand and taped the famous Wallace interview with its devastating testimony. However, before the most newsworthy "60 Minutes" segment in years could air, Bergman would lose to a CBS corporate decision to kill it and would experience breakdown and bitter divisions within "60 Minutes."

     Wigand would find himself sued, targeted in a national smear campaign, divorced and facing possible incarceration. Wigand, having wagered so much and now unable to deliver his testimony to the American people, and Bergman, trying to defeat the smear campaign and force CBS to air the interview, are two ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. They find themselves in a fight from which no one will emerge as he entered and nothing will be the same again.

     My daughter Kat and I went to San Francisco on October 15 to attend a special press screening of this film as the guests of Touchstone Films.  The other critics who saw it with us seemed to like it as much as we did.  All the way home, some 106 miles, Kat and I talked about the personal meaning of the film in terms of Truth Telling and personal integrity.  It was a great discussion.

     What makes the film even more compelling is the fact that it is a true story.  At one point in the film I was angry at how easily money can buy off not only individuals, but major corporations like CBS.   Money is truly the god of our day.  "The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil," the Bible says and that is certainly true.

     I strongly suggest that you take friends or your group to this film and then afterwards meet to discuss it over coffee. The issues this brings up are mind blowing.  For example: What is more important, family or truth?  Can one be silent and keep one's integrity?  Can we trust network news shows?  How much of a role does money play in preventing true justice?

The cinematography is interesting. Dante Spinotti used high contrast color film to give the film a sense of contrasting good and evil.  Note the use of shadows and darkness with small patches of light.  It gives the feeling of darkness being dispelled by light.  Very effective.

Bulletin Board:

Subject: The Cost of Winning
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000
From: Michael

For me, the most telling moment in the film was near the very end. Pacino's character has manipulated the network into "breaking" the story, and goes home to his wife. The absolute passivity in Pacino's face when his wife says, "We won!" is stunning. This is PACINO we're talking about (think about "On Any Given Sunday" if you want, or "Dog Day Afternoon"). The message? Some battles just aren't worth winning. The human cost is too high. And yet, they must be won at all costs, once you've started. They Might Be Giants may have said it best: "You can't shake the devil's hand / and then say you're only kidding."

Subject: The Insider
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999
From: Arthur
Thot the Insider was an good movie that if it were 30 minute shorter, it would have been at least 30% more effective.

For me the weakest part ot the film was the on-off relationship between Wigand and his wife after he reveals he has been fired. She reacts, harshly, but ,in the circumstances, perhaps typically. Then it appears they have reconciled, resolved their differences and developed a close and loving relationship again. Bang ,suddenly and without dramatic development, the wife and children are gone.......It did not appear realistic but smacked more of a juice job to pick up the pace at this point. It did begin to lag at this point. But their real world confrontation would have been a much more effective and honest device. Although the cinematography seems to have won critical acclaim,too many scenes were artificially dark. Sometimes, in trying to depict mood thru lighting , it is very easy to overdo it and destroy the mood sought.

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