The Insider appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I felt consistently pleased with this excellent presentation.
Sharpness looked terrific. Only the slightest smidgen of softness ever occurred, as this almost always provided a concise, accurate picture. Jagged edges and edge haloes weren’t an issue, and I saw just a tiny bit of shimmering on one occasion. Print flaws failed to manifest themselves in this clean image.
In terms of colors, the movie often opted for stylized elements. Chilly blues appeared much of the time, and I also saw scenes with amber or green overtones. Within the film’s design choices, the hues looked well-developed. Blacks were dense and deep, and I thought shadows displayed nice clarity; the flick went with a high-contrast look much of the time, but it still gave us smooth low-light shots. The image has held up very well and looked simply outstanding.
While not as impressive, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack was more than competent for a tale of this sort. The soundstage maintained a forward bias, so the front speakers dominated the proceedings. That meant it emphasized the center - this was a dialogue-intensive film - but it can spread nicely to the sides when necessary.
The surrounds provide mainly ambient information such as mild effects or some gentle echoing of the score, though they could open up at times. Street scenes or those at restaurants and airports allowed the settings to broaden, and thunder echoed well around the room. Nothing here could be called immersive, but the mix added the right flavor of ambience.
Audio quality appeared strong throughout the movie. As I mentioned, dialogue dominated, and it sounded good, with clear, natural and easily intelligible speech apparent at all times. Effects seemed accurate and realistic, and the score displayed good dynamic range and clarity, with solid low end as well. Ultimately, The Insider featured a modest but effective soundtrack.
How does the Blu-ray compare to the the original DVD from 2000? Audio was a bit broader and richer, but the visuals showed the most obvious gains, as the Blu-ray was significantly better defined and smoother.
Only one notable extra appears here: a Production Featurette. It goes for seven minutes, five seconds and provides comments from director/co-writer/producer Michael Mann, former tobacco company executive Jeffrey Wigand, former 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman, attorney Richard Scruggs, Mississippi Attorney General Michael Moore, and actors Al Pacino, Russell Crowe, and Christopher Plummer. We get notes about story/characters and the facts behind the film, sets and locations. It delivers a few interesting notes but it’s mostly a superficial promotional piece.
The disc opens with ads for Red Widow and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. These also pop up under Sneak Peeks along with a clip for Revenge. We get the trailer for Insider as well.
Note that the Blu-ray drops one extra from the DVD: a piece called “Inside a Scene”. This approached one part of the movie from a number of different viewpoints. It wasn’t great but given the absence of other bonus features, its absence disappoints. (The Blu-ray’s back cover promises “Inside a Scene” but it doesn’t appear on the disc.)
The Insider comes to us with a compelling story that's very well-executed. This piece easily could degenerate into TV movie territory, but the excellent cast and assured direction of Michael Mann make certain that doesn't happen. The Blu-ray delivers top-notch visuals and good audio but skimps on supplements. It’s too bad the flick still lacks notable extras, but the Blu-ray presents it very well.
To rate this film visit the original widescreen review of THE INSIDER