Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1999. Touchstone Pictures, Forward Pass, Mann/Roth Productions. Screenplay by Eric Roth, Michael Mann, based on the article The Man Who Knew Too Much by Marie Brenner. Cinematography by Dante Spinotti. Produced by Pieter Jan Brugge, Michael Mann. Music by Pieter Bourke, Lisa Gerrard. Production Design by Brian Morris. Costume Design by Anna B. Sheppard. Film Editing by William Goldenberg, David Rosenbloom, Paul Rubell. Academy Awards 1999. Golden Globe Awards 1999.
Gripping true-life account of tobacco industry insider Jeffrey Wigand’s experience exposing faulty practices at the large tobacco firm he once worked for, and the ordeal it took to get his interview broadcast on 60 Minutes. Al Pacino is in better shape than he’s been in years as Lowell Bergman, the show’s hard-working producer who fights as hard as he can to keep his informant protected, and Christopher Plummer is a sizzler as 60 Minutes‘ chief interviewer Mike Wallace, the man who interviewed Wigand for the program. Director Michael Mann’s allegedly tyrannical perfectionism has once again paid off and created a fascinating, complex and extremely well-rounded narrative that is helped further along by excellent editing and a first-rate script (which Mann co-wrote with Academy Award-winner Eric Roth) that never descends into character stereotypes or mawkish dialogue. Russell Crowe pretty much steals the show as Wigand, a moral man caught in extremely immoral circumstances who risks losing everything for the sake of telling the truth, much to his wife’s (Diane Venora) continued misery.