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A dramatization of 1995 events in which the tobacco industry allegedly covered up proof that nicotine is addictive and harmful When Brown and Williamson executive Jeffrey Wigand Crowe tries to expose the industrys cover-up he is threatened into silence He eventually gets his story to 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman AL Pacino but CBS decides against airing it due to political and economic pressures and the threat of lawsuit from Brown and WilliamsonBefore we start I think its important that you know a little thing about me and where Im coming from I do smoke But I believe that most of the lawsuits filed against the tobacco industry are unfounded desperate attempts for people to put the blame on anyone but themselves I think social security is a safety net for the financially irresponsible I thought The Insider was a great movie from a strictly entertainment perspective dont get ahead of me on this one and I enjoyed it very muchRussell Crowe is Jeffrey Wigand a Brown and Williamson VP of Research and Development whose conscience compels him to blow the whistle on the industry He claims that Big Tobacco has been covering up scientific research that proves nicotine is addictive and harmful The writing puts a lot of energy into making sure that Wigand is a sufficiently complicated character and one that we sympathize with To be sure hes not entirely one-dimensional Initially he does what most of us would do in his position he takes the money and benefits that the company offers him in return for silence After all the guy has a family to look out for But then Wigand is tortured over his passiveness wondering if he should take a more aggressive stance with his potentially damaging knowledge60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman sensing a big story in the works tries to coax Wigand into talking An energetic Al Pacino who fights to get the story on the air
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