Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander Feature In Beautiful First Posters For Transgender Drama ‘The Danish Girl’ Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander Feature In Beautiful First Posters For Transgender Drama ‘The Danish Girl’ New Images Of Kristen Stewart In Stoner Comedy 'American Ultra' And Sci-Fi 'Equals' New Images Of Kristen Stewart In Stoner Comedy 'American Ultra' And Sci-Fi 'Equals' Watch: First Trailer For Serial Killer Thriller 'Solace' Starring Anthony Hopkins And Colin Farrell Watch: First Trailer For Serial Killer Thriller 'Solace' Starring Anthony Hopkins And Colin Farrell Watch: Full Length 'Making Batman Begins' Doc, Christopher Nolan Talks Legacy Of Film On 10th Anniversary Watch: Full Length 'Making Batman Begins' Doc, Christopher Nolan Talks Legacy Of Film On 10th Anniversary ‘Game Of Thrones’ Will Probably End After Season 8, But HBO Is Open To Prequels & More ‘Game Of Thrones’ Will Probably End After Season 8, But HBO Is Open To Prequels & More Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

The Playlist Informs On You: 16 Notable Whistleblower Movies

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist August 5, 2011 at 6:03AM

The idea of the insider who, despite pressure from authorities, employers, families and friends, decides to do the right thing and blow the whole operation sky high, has been the source of some pretty terrific drama for getting on half a century now. The latest addition to the canon is "The Whistleblower," which sees Rachel Weisz as a U.N. operative who risks everything to expose a sex trafficking scandal among her colleagues.
7

"The Insider" (1999)
"Heat" may have gotten the most attention, pairing as it did Robert De Niro and Al Pacino for the first time (and it's undoubtedly a great film), but ask us what our favorite Michael Mann film is, and we'd have to lean towards his gripping based-in-fact "The Insider." Going behind the scenes of the tobacco lawsuits of the 1990s, it focuses on the relationship between CBS producer Lowell Bergman (Pacino) and former tobacco executive Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), who agrees to turn whistleblower after being fired, but is blocked at every turn by his former employers. Thanks to a script by Mann and Eric Roth which makes the legal complexities totally clear, while remaining gripping, the human cost of what Wigand is doing never escapes us. Mann's in top form as well, giving what could be a talky drama a visual zip, with some of Dante Spinotti's finest work ever, and the score by Pieter Bourke and Lisa Gerrard, is haunting. But it's the performances that really make it sing: it's one of Pacino's more restrained performances of recent years, with Shouty Al only rarely raising his head, and Christopher Plummer is terrific as anchor Mike Wallace. But the MVP is Russell Crowe. Playing 20 years older than his then age (in a part initially earmarked for Val Kilmer, allegedly), he's almost unrecognizable from the lithe killing machine he'd be seen as six months later in "Gladiator," here he really sells Wigand as a fundamentally good person with a dark streak, and it's impossible not to feel sympathy for him as his life falls apart around him. [A]

The Informant!” (2009)
Having already succeeded with a fairly straightforward character-based whistleblower picture in "Erin Brockovich" and wisely realizing "The Insider" is still an untouchable milestone in this genre, Steven Soderbergh realized the only logical entry point for the story of agricultural price-fixing tattle-tale Mark Whitacre was through comedy. Indebted to the '70s in more ways than one -- the hilariously goofy Marvin Hamlisch score, the groovy font title cards throughout and the non-traditional narrative filled with minor character crises --"The Informant!" is an amusing homage to that era. Featuring a portly Matt Damon in the lead as a cheerful, bi-polar, Midwestern bio-chemist, the picture doesn't follow a three act structure as much as it just layers whopping fib on top of gigantic lie wrapped up in ridiculous fabrication; soon enough it's impossible to tell what's fact or fiction. Aside from the score and wickedly sly off-topic voice-over, Soderbergh plays it all deliciously straight and matter-of-fact, and Damon seems to relish playing the apogee of unreliable narrators who actually thinks he's some sort of spy. The whole thing is rounded out by a strong supporting cast that conveys various levels of disbelief and ridicule -- Melanie Lynskey in particular does a subtly strong job as Mark's supportive wife. Unorthodox enough to be generally out of step with modern-day audiences (it didn't exactly clean up at the box-office), nevertheless, "The Informant!" is a devilishly funny little riff and another picture in a long line of Soderbergh-ian experiments in a sub-genre. [B]

"The Whistle Blower" (1987)
Drab and stodgy in parts and feeling rather dated due to its stifling preoccupation with the British class system, "The Whistle Blower" does have one huge thing going for it: Michael Caine's performance. Perhaps because he has been around so long, been in a fair few absolute stinkers and is so eminently impersonate-able (who among us is not guilty of having hazarded the odd "you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off"), it's somehow easy to forget that under the mannerisms, the accent, the 'national treasure' status, there is a truly fine actor. That his performance elevates an otherwise rather turgid expose of the British Secret Service's double dealings and class snobbery into something watchable and at times even compelling is no faint praise: he brings real subtlety, restraint and dignity to his portrayal of Frank Jones, an ex-serviceman exposing the corruption and amoral politicking that led to the murder of his son. If approached as a human drama, therefore, the film works much better than as a thriller- it is as much about Jones's disillusionment with his government and his growing, if belated, understanding of his son's politics as it is about car chases or spy games. A host of British character actors lend able support, if mostly in rather one-note roles: James Fox, Gordon Jackson and John Gielgud are never less than good value, but this is Caine's show and he steals it. His small but devastating portrayal of a man grieving the loss of a son, and of a faith that he had previously fought and killed for, has to rank as one of the actor's finest moments to date. Shame the rest of the film falls short. [B-]

This article is related to: Films, Feature, The Whistleblower


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates