The Insider by Lisa Gerrard and Peter Bourke at



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The Insider (Soundtrack) by Lisa Gerrard and Peter Bourke

"No Whistleblowers Required"
Review by
Matt Peterson


The Insider (Soundtrack) by Lisa Gerrard and Peter Bourke

The Insider

The Insider (Soundtrack) by Lisa Gerrard and Peter Bourke


Category  |   Score

Originality 8
Music Selection 7
Composition 7
CD Length 8
Track Order 7
Performance 7
Final Score 7/10






Lisa Gerrard and Peter Bourke
Lisa Gerrard and Peter Bourke


Quick Quotes

"If I had to describe this album in one word, it would be eclectic. Like the score to Heat, Michael Mann's lush 1995 Los Angeles crime drama, there is really no theme to the score. Instead, the music was seemingly designed for one purpose, and one purpose alone - to fit the action in the film."

Adam Holmberg - Filmtracks Reviews
The Insider




Composed by Lisa Gerrard, Pieter Bourke
Performed by Lisa Gerrard, Pieter Bourke, Gustavo Santaolalla, and Jan Garbarek
Album produced by Lisa Gerrard, Pieter Bourke
Executive Producer Michael Mann
Released by Sony/Columbia Records - October 26, 1999

The score to Michael Mann’s arguably greatest film is one of many driving textures and unique voices. Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke, who previously collaborated on the album “Duality,” create a fitting, emotional score to the tale of Jeffrey Wigand, a whistle-blowing ex-tobacco executive for Brown and Williamson. Composer Graeme Revell, among others, also contributed to the album, continuing Mann’s pattern of piecing together collaborative scores. It is a fine example of the recent resurgence of atmospheric underscore. More and more films lately are looking toward emotional, minimalist scores in the style of such composers as Brian Eno (whose music was paired with Eliott Goldenthal’s score to Michael Mann’s Heat) and Phillip Glass over more hardened thematic material. Recent examples include Steven Soderbergh’s epic Traffic (Cliff Martinez), and even Christopher Nolan’s Memento (David Julyan). This style can be effective, especially in the case of The Insider, a film earmarked by emotional morality plays, and documentary-esque realism. Nevertheless, this musical style can be create a less than satisfying album. Such is the case for The Insider. Even though the score functions beautifully in the film, it suffers as a standalone album.

Formerly of the band Dead Can Dance, Lisa Gerrard has been recently catapulted into soundtrack stardom due to her Golden Globe winning collaboration with Hans Zimmer on the superb score to Gladiator. Her majestic voice is present on The Insider, but in scarce quantities. Most of the pieces that feature Gerrard are simply drawn from her aforementioned album “Duality,” namely “Tempest” (which was rerecorded for The Insider) and “Sacrifice.” Gerrard’s original contributions to The Insider include “The Silencer” and “Meltdown.” Despite the lack of Gerrard’s voice on the album, The Insider still shines. Her haunting voice creates periods of goosebumps, and provides a wordless accompaniment which exudes the proper emotion. As a note of trivia, the track “Sacrifice” was used to great effect in the recent documentary 9|11 which appeared on CBS in March of 2002.

This album is the classic example of what I like to call “see it, and you’ll like it” syndrome. This score is definitely more enjoyable if you’ve seen the film and understand the context of the music. Michael Mann, Last of the Mohicans aside, seems to favor scores that accentuate the atmosphere of a scene as opposed to the use of recurring themes. I cannot stress enough the importance of understanding the context before listening to The Insider. Remembering the images paired with the score greatly enhance the listening experience.

The bulk of the score consists of heavy synthesizers and electronic effects. The music of The Insider is, in a word, moody. The film’s stylized photography and subject matter simply lend themselves to this kind of atmospheric music, and rightfully so. It is very ambient, and is beautiful in its own right. Some tracks do get a bit repetitive, featuring a certain motif which gets restated for several minutes. The album opens with “The Tempest,” a driving, Arabic-influenced piece that scores Lowell Bergman’s (Al Pacino) car ride to meet a potential interviewee. “Dawn of the Truth” is a soothing techno piece that features Pieter Bourke’s distinctive contributions to the album, but is ultimately too repetitive. “Sacrifice” is a seven minute ballad featuring minor/major key synth shifts, and Lisa Gerrard’ vocals that scores Wigand’s realization of the consequences of his actions. “The Subordinate” and “Faith” are excellent cues which were used in the teaser trailer for Traffic. The album proceeds in a similar, soothing techno fashion, aside from Graeme Revell’s contributions, which are the only orchestral sounding pieces in the score. Other highlights include “Iguazu,” a beautiful guitar/synth piece which accompanies Wigand’s trip to a Mississippi deposition, and “Meltdown,” an almost club/dance like track with distorted vocals which marks Wigand’s depression and serves as the end credits suite.

Overall, The Insider is a remarkable album of atmosphere and texture, but suffers without the context of the film. If you are a fan of Gerrard’s mesmerizing work in Gladiator and Mission Impossible: II, you will enjoy this album. Once again, I feel that the enjoyment of the music on The Insider is greatly enhanced by understanding the context of the score. In short, see the movie first! I recommend this score to anyone with an adventurous nature. It is certainly unorthodox film music, but just as enjoyable as the traditional orchestral counterpart. Minimalist, atmospheric score has found its rightful place in films such as this, and can be an effective alternative to what we film music fans may be accustomed to hearing. Liking it as a standalone experience is a matter of taste--one that should be explored. I have a feeling that the film scoring careers of Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke are just gaining momentum.

Track Listing and Ratings


Title Time


1 Tempest - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 2:50  *****
2 Dawn of the Truth - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 1:58  ***
3 Sacrifice - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 7:41  *****
4 The Subordinate - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 1:16  ***
5 Exile - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 1:39  ***
6 The Silencer - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 1:37  ****
7 Broken - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 2:02  ***
8 Faith - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 3:01  ****
9 I'm Alone on This - Graeme Revell 2:01  ***
10 LB in Montana - Graeme Revell 0:49  ***
11 Palladino Montage - Graeme Revell 0:42  ****
12 Iguazo - Gustavo Santaolalla 3:10  *****
13 Liquid Moon - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 4:05  ***
14 Rites - Jan Garbarek 5:33  ***
15 Safe from Harm - Massive Attack 8:11  **
16 Meltdown - Lisa Gerrard/Pieter Bourke 5:40  ****

Total Running Time


The Insider (Soundtrack) by Lisa Gerrard and Peter Bourke

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.


Referenced Reviews
Gladiator  |  Mission: Impossible 2



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