With 'The Insider' Michael Mann Created a Different Kind of Crime Epic

When beginning Mannhunting, Rob offered a hypothesis that (barring The Keep) almost any of Mann's films pre-Public Enemies could be credibly argued to be his Best Work. Now, one movie past the highly regarded Heat, the Mannhunters are in a position to put that theory to the test. Join as Alex Navarro, Dia Lacina, and Rob take to the airwaves with Mann's drama about 60 Minutes, a tobacco industry whistleblower, and corporate power over news media.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v7vdz4/with-the-insider-michael-mann-created-a-different-kind-of-crime-epic
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I never really warmed up to this movie even though I can say there isn’t a part about it I dislike or think is cheap. If there’s a problem here it is that over the last twenty years I’ve seen a dozen or more of these, what Alex calls “serious men talking” movies, especially journalism ones. Some of them are quite good, like Spotlight, others are painfully self-serious trope fests like State of Play (which also starred Russell Crowe) or just something to fall asleep to, like The Post. The Insider is so close to being a formulaic Oscarbait drama, which has become my least favorite kind of movie. It never does though, it doesn’t drop its themes with an anvil, there’s no pretty speech that saves the day, no final slow clap or overwrought montage about the greatness of journalism. This could be so much cheaper, blander - I think every journalism drama of the last twenty years has wanted to be The Insider and many have failed badly.

Ultimately it’s handsome, it’s well-done, a good reminder of how powerful and evil tobacco was just a generation ago, but not for me.

Also watched Marcel the Shell tonight and let’s just say that’s a very different kind of movie prominently featuring 60 Minutes as a bastion of journalism at its fiercest.