Monday, October 01, 2007

What about the children?

I don't know how long I've had Encore as part of my cable package, but as a result, over the weekend, I had a chance to rewatch The Insider starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe. Technically it is superb--what else would you expect from Michael Mann--and as Variety would say, perfs are stellar across the board. Particularly spot on is Christopher Plummer as Mike Wallace, admitting that he does not want to spend his dying days on NPR. Wallace frets over his legacy ("How will I be remembered?"), which is probably what Dan Rather was thinking when he filed his lawsuit. And as always, it's a treat to see Bruce McGill and Philip Baker Hall on screen.

Completely over the top, however, is when 60 Minutes finally airs the tobacco segment in its entirety, including the interview with Jeffrey Wigand. Pacino sees it in an airport and suddenly everyone stops to hear Wigand explain how the tobacco lobby was dishonest and how nicotine is, in fact, addictive. Mann cues the soulful wailing in the background as a mother and her children stop to listen, clearly in shock and disbelief. Even a janitor in the background stops to watch. The entire airport basically comes to a standstill. (When it comes to Big Tobacco and the movies, I much prefer Thank You for Smoking.)

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