Monday Movie: The Insider

Jeffrey Wigand used to be a top scientist in a big tobacco company, and now he wants to spill the beans on how cigarette manufacturers are manipulating the nicotine in their products - even if everything he has is ruined in the process. But when his interview is finally on tape, the corporate lawyers of CBS refuse to allow its broadcast, worrying about their culpability (and the effect of controversy on their share prices). It's up to dedicated newsman Lowell Bergman to get Wigand's story out into the open before a smear campaign destroys the man's credibility - and his life.

When I've not seen one of his films for a while, I tend to just think of Michael Mann as the one working American director who seems to still have an aptitude for action scenes, but The Insider stands as a fantastic reminder that Mann's true strengths are his ability to convey intense dialogue and evocative ambience. Words fly like machinegun bullets throughout this dramatisation of a true story, but there's also great care taken to convey emotion and atmosphere.

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