Insider, The

Rated 4.0 Writer/director Michael Mann’s meticulously composed, operatic rendering of the tale of Dr. Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), a disillusioned corporate chemist who agreed to expose tobacco-company secrets and lies for 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) and reporter Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer). The interests of money rule the action, as, Mann subtly but unmistakably suggests, they rule all of American life. The Insider is faultless when Wigand is at center, Mann adopting, always, shifting, the perfect tone. Crowe is nothing short of magnificent, and there are moments of pure poetry, perfect blending of sight and sound. When the story slides to Bergman the film at times falters; he is too much the hero, and lines forced from his compatriots, particularly Wallace, do not always ring true.