10. The Insider
Michael Mann is better known for some of his more brash, macho films like Heat and Last Of The Mohicans, but his 1999 true life drama is among his best. Telling the real story of tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand, this is a reserved and fascinating tale of undersung heroics and terrifying corporate power run amok.
Mann’s restraint rubs off on his lead actors Russell Crowe and Al Pacino. Both are unusually subtle, and the former especially puts in a performance that ranks among his best as the titular telltale. A year prior to his Gladiator triumph, Crowe is unrecognisable, paunchy and liver spotted. He conveys Wigand’s quiet bravery magnificently, a man at last taking a stand against a poisonous industry from which he has long benefitted.
Like most of Mann’s films it’s a lengthy one, but the director’s extraordinary attention to details means no stone goes unturned in the accurate telling of this vital story. While both leads have far more famous pictures under their belts, The Insider shows the range of the talented stars in gripping fashion.