This is the real life tale of two guys battling corporate corruption and compromise: Jeffrey Wigand (Crowe), a research scientist for the tobacco giant Brown & Williamson, which threatens litigation if he breaks a confidentiality agreement about the harmful properties of nicotine; and Lowell Bergman (Pacino), producer for CBS's 60 Minutes, who encourages Wigand to speak out on TV. A potent aspect of the story is that while it works as a suspenseful film noir, it never shortchanges us on the details and issues or oversimplifies the pair's heroism. Moreover, the movie reveals Michael Mann's unparalleled ability to fashion taut suspense from unpromising material. Through careful pacing, music, moody lighting, nervy camera movement and imaginative compositions that subtly play on claustrophobia and agoraphobia, he makes even the most mundane situation suggestive of menace and paranoia, and creates a genuine sense of scale, so that intimate insights into private lives and emotions are balanced by an almost epic sense of historical and political import. Splendid.