Hollywood hails a tobacco whistleblower
The Insider, directed by Michael Mann, from Touchstone Pictures. On general release
- By: Clifford Douglas, Ann Arbor
The Insider, from Disney's Touchstone Pictures, tells the story of how Jeffrey Wigand (played by Russell Crowe), a former executive of Brown and Williamson Tobacco, blew the whistle on the company's knowledge about the addictive properties of cigarettes. The other key player in the story is Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino), a television producer on the programme 60 Minutes, who helped persuade Wigand to tell his story. The film tells how the corporate brass at the CBS television network persuaded Bergman's bosses, including the celebrated correspondent Mike Wallace (Christopher Plummer), to kill the story, only to permit its resurrection after a nasty internal battle.
The drama revolves around Bergman's efforts to persuade Wigand to speak publicly about Brown and Williamson's knowledge of nicotine addiction, its manipulation of the drug, and its refusal to remove a carcinogenic substance from its pipe tobacco. Wigand fears that violating his confidentiality agreement will place him