|Inside Man [HD DVD]
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Spike Lee scored his biggest hit to date with Inside Man, an unconventional thriller with fascinating details in the margins of its convoluted plot. The screenplay (by first-timer Russell Gerwitz) could've used a few more rewrites; it moves at a brisk pace but in hindsight a lot of it doesn't make sense. That makes Inside Man more fun to watch than to think about afterwards (when you discover plot holes big enough to drive a truck through), but it's curiously involving, especially as NYPD Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) struggles to outsmart a high-stakes bank robber (Clive Owen) who, along with a well-trained crew of accomplices, has seized control of a Wall Street bank, turning what initially looks like a hostage crisis into a personal crusade to expose some mysterious evil secrets. As you might expect from the director of Do the Right Thing, Lee seizes several satisfying opportunities to examine post-9/11 issues of racial prejudice and domestic terrorism, and the mysterious "problem solver" Madeline White (Jodie Foster), as eerily sinister as she is vaguely defined, is worthy of her own movie. With the benefit of his most stellar cast to date (including Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe and Chiwetel Ejiofor), Lee seems more interested in character details than well-crafted suspense, but that doesn't stop Inside Man from being engrossing, subtly amusing, and quirky enough to qualify as a welcomed break from the formulaic thrillers that are Hollywood's bread and butter. --Jeff Shannon
Academy Award? winner Denzel Washington, Academy Award? nominee Clive Owen and Academy Award? winner Jodie Foster star in this intense and explosive crime thriller. The perfect bank robbery quickly spirals into an unstable and deadly game of cat-and-mouse between a criminal mastermind (Owen), a determined detective (Washington), and a power broker with a hidden agenda (Foster). As the minutes tick by and the situation becomes increasingly tense, one wrong move could mean disaster for any one of them. From acclaimed director Spike Lee comes the edge-of-your-seat, action-packed thriller The Wall Street Journal calls "a heist film that's right on the money."
- Best movie I have seen
I was at first kind of skeptical about seeing this movie when it was released in theaters, but I was pleasantly surprised by how excellent this movie is!!! If I could I would give it ten stars!! The acting was superb and best of all it kept you guessing the entire movie about what was going on!!! I highly recommend this movie to everyone. Thanks Amazon ...more info
- Excellent movie!
This is one my all-time favorite movies for several reasons. First, the cast: Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen are perfect as the main triangle of personae in this film. Next is the plot; if you have the ability to go into this one without knowing anything about the plot, then do so because the end is just fantastic. The even, fast pace of this film will keep your attention. Enjoy....more info
- A promising but failed movie
I went into this movie with high expectations. The cast and director had done some outstanding work in the past. The plot sounded interesting, with ample chance for rich story and character elements. I came out more disappointed than in any movie in years. A borrowed "bank heist" premise and a few gritty, stylized, or eccentric touches and small-scale human-nature observations do not add up to a good movie. This is true no matter how talented, intelligent, and otherwise successful the people involved. I cannot join in a chorus of empty praise for what is so clearly a failed film.
The storytelling was slow-paced, uneven, disorganized, and uninspired. Long before the film finally dragged to an end and revealed the secret of the heist, I had stopped caring. When the drawn-out movie was not belaboring dense details that did not add up to anything larger, it was veering into thin, superficial subplots -- ones that were either boring or far-fetched and sensationalistic -- with even more superficial characters, dialogue, and interactions.
None of the characters were worth caring about or had any depth. They were mere stick-figure plot devices. I have never seen Denzel Washington look bad until this film, or play a less coherent, less impressive character. Other characters were cardboard villains, perhaps with some shock-value traits pasted on for effect, even down to the gray-haired establishment type who appeared briefly to spew obscenities every other word. Jodie Foster made an interesting ice-cold, high-society "fixer," and Clive Owen a smooth, cool, wily robber, but their thin, flat characters were mere injected devices for unbelievable actions and story lines. Despite their talents, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Plummer were able to add nothing, with stiff performances in empty roles. An air of pseudo-sophistication threw a wet blanket on all of the performances.
As a commentary on society or human nature, the film's observations seem trivial. As a crime drama, the police work could not have been less impressive or the dramatic presentation less suspenseful. The rushed attempt toward the end to tie together plot threads, finally create some dramatic momentum, and belatedly manufacture heroics was confusing, contrived, unrealistic, out-of-place, and ineffective.
Quite frankly, the disparate elements of this uneven film did not come together to tell a meaningful or entertaining story on any level. It was a major disappointment. The movie does not deserve all the strained, lame attempts to portray it as a masterpiece or to make excuses for it....more info
- A Spike Lee Movie I Didn't Hate!
Although I have unilaterally dispised every other creation by Spike Lee (who gave that guy a camera?), this high-intensity movie actually through me for a loop - plus, it has Clive Owen and Jodie Foster!...more info
- Hated it...
I know this movie won't be shown at the boys and girls club! It is awful. ...more info
- Excellent Movie
A typical grade A Denzel Washington movie. I throughly enjoyed the action in this movie....more info
- Almost perfect.
Besides the great story, the acting, the cinematography then there is the music.
I can watch this movie over and over.
I am just waiting on the BlueRay version to buy it.
This is Hollywood at it's best.
You think they could make more like these more often.
Thank you....more info
- must watch
Just a great movie with great acting !!!! this movie was under advertised but was recommended by a friend. We could not believe how good it was we did not even know it was in the cinema. You will not be disappointed rent it now ...more info
- It's lacking some, but it makes up for it elsewhere...
This film feels off when you compare it to the other films given to us by Spike Lee. I'm not saying that is a bad thing (we all know that I am not the biggest Spike Lee fan) but the fact that it doesn't truly feel like a Spike Lee film is significant. Sure, Lee inserts his views on race relations when he has the chance (please get off it for once) but the brisk pace and overall plot development feel like something far removed from director Spike Lee. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing to the viewer is entirely up to that individual.
Personally I found the pacing a welcomed change. It was easier to follow and more engaging than some of Lee's more preachy endeavors, and while it lacks the depth and pristine command that Lee exhibited in `25th Hour' it manages to keep my interest throughout.
I was entertained.
At the films open we are introduced to Dalton Russell. Pay close attention for he chooses his words carefully. He basically tells you all the films secrets in the opening scene, but you won't get it, at least not yet. He is going to rob a bank. Next thing you know the bank is sealed and Dalton and his accomplices take everyone hostage, making them don jumpsuits and stripping them of their cell phones and keys. Outside the bank Detective Keith Frazier (in search of a promotion) takes on the task of negotiating the safety of the hostages with Dalton, but there is no outsmarting that man who has no doubt thought this through.
Sadly, it feels at times like the screenwriter didn't do the same. There are plot holes that stick out like sore thumbs, especially as the plot twists start revealing themselves. The side plot involving Arthur Case (the bank owner) and the `fixer' he hires is a tad convoluted and needed a little tweaking. Parts of the execution regarding Dalton's escape are also a bit of a stretch, but it's nothing that takes away from the enjoyment of the film.
Just don't think about it too hard.
The performances are a delight here though. Clive Owen is a very effective actor who has consistently presented himself wonderfully on screen. He's able to engage the audience from the moment he opens his mouth (that voice) but he also has the ability to sustain our attention with the light in his eyes. Denzel Washington was a nice surprise here as well. He was able to keep his charm controlled as apposed to allowing it to run wild as he often does. This is probably one of his better performances, for he found the proper balance in his style of acting. Christopher Plummer does what he can with his character, and he does it very well; but he is upstaged (as is everyone) by Jodie Foster. Seriously, what in the world has she been doing? Where was this amazing and commanding force back when she was winning Oscars for performances that were beneath her obviously? I mean what she does here is leagues ahead of a lot of her more acclaimed performances.
In the end `Inside Man' is a very interesting and enjoyable heist film. It is not as smart as it appears to be, nor as intelligent as it wants to be, but it is as fun as it claims to be so check it out. The performances and the quick paced action will keep you glued even if the films preposterousness wages war on you later on. Just turn your mind off for a few hours and enjoy a good popcorn flick....more info
- Appearances Can Be Deceiving...
I have to start out by saying that as an avid movie watcher I generally try to keep an open mind when approaching a movie. With that being said there are a couple of directors that I find this to be a particularly hard task to succeed in, Quentin Tarentino is one such director and the other is Spike Lee. I have to say that whenever either of these two critically acclaimed directors releases a movie (or a `joint' as Spike Lee prefers to label them), I find it difficult to get too excited about seeing them, and sometimes I don't end up seeing the movie at all, though I try to make an effort because you never know when one might hit you just right. So, when I saw the trailer for the upcoming Spike Lee movie "Inside Man" starring Denzel Washington and Clive Owen, I was somewhat interested in it simply because I enjoy both actors' work; however, Denzel had done a Spike Lee movie before that I didn't like, so that didn't guarantee that I would enjoy him in this one. Over time I saw more trailers for the movie and read what the film was to be about and I have to say that for the first time ever, I was actually excited to see a Spike Lee movie, but whether my anticipation was misplaced or completely justified would remain to be seen.
"Inside Man" presents us with the story of a brilliant criminal mastermind (Clive Owen) who has devised the perfect bank robbery and subsequent escape without being caught by the law. However, when the plan is hatched events quickly begin to spiral out of control and the police are fast on the scene led by a cunningly smart detective (Denzel Washington) who will not rest until the situation is contained. Just when negotiations are beginning to take shape between the criminals and the police, a government power broker (Jodie Foster) interferes throwing this delicate matter into a state of uncertainty where one wrong move could spell disaster for all involved.
After watching this movie I quickly came to the conclusion that even though I generally dislike most Spike Lee movies, even he can surprise me sometimes. "Inside Man" was a wonderfully constructed cat-and-mouse thriller that was completely engrossing and a genuine surprise to me, and was by far the most mainstream Spike Lee movie to date. The story was well paced, full of twists-and-turns that you don't see coming, and the dialogue was so well-written and at times an absolute joy to listen to, especially the many exchanges between Denzel Washington and Clive Owen's characters. The acting was terrific from all actors involved, each actor was given so much to work with, which is often a rarity in an ensemble piece like this one, where there are so many A-list actors gathered in one film, generally one or two of them get shorted on development. A lot of the fun I had in watching this movie was trying to figure out the various motives every character had or which side they were truly on, so many of the characters had hidden agendas you really didn't know what to expect from any of them, which made the experience all the more enjoyable for me.
As I said earlier I'm not by any means a Spike Lee fan and enjoying this movie doesn't change that fact, but for me to have been even remotely entertained by this film is a feat in and of itself. With all that being said, I think it would be nice to see more independent-type directors, such as Spike Lee or Quentin Tarentino, make more mainstream films and maybe, just maybe, I would like their work a whole lot more than simply one movie here and there.
"Inside Man" is rated R for violence and language....more info
- 3 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:
The movie runs a little bit too long, has no real purpose for Jodie Foster, and tries to pass off Christopher Plummer's character as someone who had influence during the Holocaust (assuming he was 35 in 1945, which is still a bit young to be running a bank, that makes him 96 in 2006), but avoids many of the pratfalls of similar heist movies and emerges as a watchable thriller....more info
- Unpredictable Heist Thriller Delivers the Goods
Director Spike Lee hits box-office gold with a New York heist thriller that never lapses into cliche. "Inside Man" also makes some telling social observations while delivering plenty of surprises. Lee provides a fine acting ensemble (Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Plummer) with an inventive screenplay from Russell Gewirtz and excellent cinematography by Matthew Libatique. The result is a crackerjack entertainment and one of Lee's most accomplished films....more info
- Good Movie
Good Movie , I thought this movie was good with a good story behind it ....more info
- Original and entertaining
"Inside Man" appears to be about a robbery at a large Manhattan bank, but there's much more to it than what meets the eye. Denzel Washington plays NYPD Detective Keith Frazier, who attempts to outsmart the mastermind of the bank robbery (Clive Owen). However, what appears to be an "ordinary" robbery/hostage situation turns out to be a personal vendetta to expose evil secrets from long ago. Throw Jodie Foster into the mix as a mysterious problem solver of sorts, and you end up with a very entertaining movie.
There are quite a few holes in the plot, but "Inside Man" is definitely a lot of fun to watch, although I doubt I'll ever sit down and watch it again. It's much more refreshing than the so-called "thrillers" Hollywood has been cranking out recently, so that in itself is a relief. This is an entertaining film with a lot of great one-liners and an excellent cast. Check it out now while it's playing on Comcast On Demand!...more info
- A different Denzel Washingtom?
I've come to expect exciting movies from this guy. It is delivered here, but is some distance from his best....more info
- Possibly the most plausible high crime drama ever.
This movie has 3 uniqueness'es that make it rise above other films that would be similar.
1. A cast of this power usually indicates a weak script and, unfortunately far too often, a poor delivery; but the Lead Roles: Clive Owen of King Arthur - The Director's Cut (Widescreen Edition), Denzel Washington of The Manchurian Candidate (Special Edition), and Jodie Foster of Flightplan (Widescreen Edition) deliver the most powerful three characters I've ever seen in one movie.
2. A heist movie is often so entangled with "good clich¨¦s" and showy maneuvers that it is laughable to imagine putting its plot to work. This movie makes me believe it would work 19 times out of 20, and movies such as: Ocean's Eleven (Widescreen Edition) I would give 3 times out 20.
3. The movie has an enjoyable social context as it moves between the worlds of the cop, the criminal, and the civilian. Here none of the parties are vilified but all victimized; it's truly fascinating and complex. ...more info
- Spike Lee Attempts Entertainment
Spike Lee was once "the Great White Hope." American liberal intellectuals were ready to lionize a young black filmmaker qualified to "speak" for black America. And he tried. Regrettably, movies like She's Gotta Have It, Do The Right Thing, School Daze, and Jungle Fever - though interesting as only worthy failures can be, were so self-congratulatory and preachy that they resembled A/V Op-Ed pieces more than movies.
Powered by a great true story and towering performance by Denzel Washington, Spike Lee did hit it out of the park once, with Malcolm X, since then it's been a pretty bleak season for the alleged vunderkind.
With the Inside Man, Lee ventures into uncharted territory - an exciting, action picture with an interesting psychological twist. To say he fails is to say the Germans lost WWII. This failure is made even more remarkable considering how much help he has. As with Malcolm X, the budget is lavish - this is a dressy film to watch. Marquee talent is everywhere, Clive Owen, Denzel Washington, Willem Dafoe, even Jodie Foster. With talent like this, only an idiot could go wrong, right? But Lee is a very special idiot, and he manages.
Despite all the hoopla, this is a one-gadget movie, and by the time it arrives you'll be wondering if Reno 911 is on. Not since the days of Marcel Marceau has anyone does less with less. Christopher Plummer looks great and gives a splendid performance, but unless his character became a bank president at 12, the entire premise of the movie is blown. Without that, the logic, motivation, and righteous indignation required to give this film any credibility at all are gone.
The turgid pace of this anti-thriller gives Lee plenty of time to indulge in the sort of simplistic, heavy-handed lecturing for which he is known ad nauseum. A little boy and his video game, "never forget" wall posters, a man and his turban, even breast size, all provide opportunities for Lee to beat his audience in the face.
Of all this film's shortcomings, the complete squandering of Jodie Foster is most puzzling. One imagines she doesn't work for free, and yet her character floats in and out of the action completely unexplained. Washington makes the most of a bad situation, and Clive Owen, an exceptional actor, tries hard to carry the freight. Unfortunately, there is no freight....more info
- Clive Owen is a bad moe-foe...
Inside Man, directed by Legend Spike Lee, stars Clive Owen & Denzel Washington...
For the umpteenth time, Denzel plays a calm and collected Bad-@$$ who is coming off a bad case at a check cashing store and he is being looked at for some missing money...
Clive Owen plays the "Bad Guy" that you want to win...His gang takes a bunch of people in a bank hostage in what appears to be a holdup...
Jodi Foster & Christopher Plummer (Syriana-Recommended) make a surprise appearance as the banks Chairman and a women who "gets things done"...
What is at stake? What is the Bank Gang really after?
The title is funny really because "Inside Man" is a term that makes me think that someone who works at the bank is in on it but Jodi Foster's character is the only "Inside Man" as the term was intended...
This is a great movie and should be in everyone's collection. As a Bank Job movie, I rate it a definite top 20....more info
- Slick Production
Spike Lee has directed a well crafted heist flick. Inside Man never sags and its all-star cast keeps the viewer glued to the storyline. Like all hostage negotiator films, Inside Man is a test of wits, but in this case the audience finds itself rooting for the negotiator (Danzel Washington) and the criminal (Clive Owen).
Heist films usually flip the audience sympathies to the criminal side and hostage negotiator stories always pull for the brainy police specialist, so this dual audience loyalty is a feat of storytelling. It is accomplished by establishing an antagonist not directly connected to the two main characters. The strength and venomousness of the antagonists makes or breaks action pictures. (You can't be heroic fighting against a wimpy bad guy.) Jodie Foster is so believable as a villain that she successfully deflects the audience wrath away from the two main contestants.
This is a stylish film, tightly edited with a great cast.
The Shut Mouth Society
The Shopkeeper...more info
- Geat Crime Caper
This begins with a chilling statement of intent by the leading man, and from then on it is a marvel of carefully planned and flawlessly executed bank robbery.
The trick is that although there are hang on the edge of your seat moments this gang has seemed to have foreseen and planned for everything. This is a great movie and you will not regret purchasing it. My companion and I watched it twice in two days just to get the most enjoyment out of it. It wears well!...more info
- Spike hits a home run
This film proven to be a hit at the box office for filmmaker Spike Lee. I usually avoid his films like the plague since I've grown tired of his preaching on race and the ills of this country but for once, he has delivered a solid, entertaining movie. The cast, for starters, is excellent. Denzil Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Plummer & Chiwetel Ejiotor really deliver the goods in this slick heist movie. Seemingly a heist film, this film is more than that and thank god, Lee steers away from his political preaching. If you've avoided his films in the past, do check this one out--you'll probably like it....more info
- Spike does it again!
The latest Spike Lee Joint, Inside Man, is the best bank heist movie since Pacino's Dog Day Afternoon... but it's much better. For those who may have thought that Spike has gone mainstream, you need to see the way he spins this plot. It's not even over when it's over, and the characters are built as multi-layered, free forms. This film is what you go to the theater to experience.
It's a crime drama. It's a mystery; it's a thriller. We're given a stellar cast: Denzel Washington, Willem Defoe, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer. It's about a bank robbery, but Denzel steals the film. Whenever he gets together with Spike, you tend to just let them work their magic. Inside Man is no different. There are perhaps three film makers who know New York City like the back of their hands - Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and, yes, Spike Lee. Lee really captures the raw grit and emotion of the streets of New York and its people, post 9/11....more info
- good film - bought it instead of renting it!
good film - bought it instead of renting it! That says something unto itsef....more info
- I expected more...
This is one of those movies that probably would have worked better as a novel than a movie. The slow pacing left a lot to be desired. I was expecting something more brilliant than what was presented here. Dalton Russell's who, what, and when explanation was fine, but he definitely short-changed us on the why. Why the heck did he care how Case made his money? None of the robber's where Jewish. How did he learn of his past if no one else knew? Once Dalton and Ms. White had their little dicussion, hence, telling the audience the real deal, I was bored waiting for Det. Frazier and his crew to catch up. Then I wasn't rewarded well enough for the wait. Why was Dafoe in this movie? have the acting gigs dried up that badly that he's taking parts that could have easily gone to a glorified extra? Foster was good, wouldn't mind having her job. Overall, it's just okay. I like Washington more when he does character pieces compared to his action/thriller/ heist stuff. I can rarely tell those characters apart....more info
- Very entertaining, very clever
As others have indicated, if you think you have it figured out, you will be totally surprised before the end. As suspense films go, everything fits together when you get to the end with nothing that suspends belief (unlike another film I recently saw). The acting is very well done.
I gave the film only four stars because of the thoroughly gratuitous use of one very frequent four letter word. Its use is so over the top that it takes away from everything else. I saw the film in a theater. Some months later we were on an overseas flight and "Inside Man" was the in-flight movie. There were small children on the flight. I wondered how that would work, given the ubiquitous use of that word. Well, the word never occurred anywhere in the film! Further, no one's lips were out of synchronization with the dialogue at any point. I have since read that Singapore will not allow films with foul language in them. Apparently, film companies must shoot two versions of the same film. They could give us films with less objectionable material, but choose not to do so. They even have the same films with less objectionable material already available. Can I give Hollywood two stars only? ...more info
- Nearly a waste of time.
While Denzel turns in a decent performance as always it is far short of his best work. If you have seen man on fire or deja-vu, this will seem down right tepid. Likewise Willem Dafoe a sometimes brilliant actor ie (apocalypse now, boondock saints) also seems to be sleeping through his performance. Jodie Foster is a pleasure as an icy cool hard as nails *itch. A departure for her that Im sure she enjoyed. Clive owen is absolutely brilliant as the mastermind and never loses control of his performance. With all this talent, this film has the potential to be great, but in fact falls so short that I really have no need to watch it again. Hostage with Bruce Willis or firewall with Harrison Ford were far better movies of this sort. And Spike Lee's need to bring racial undercurrents to every movie he makes, shows that racism doesnt belong to any one race and gets tiresome quickly. I am a man of mixed racial heritage who grew up in Detroit and has lived in Boston and New York City and my world bears little resemblance to the one Spike seems to think he lives in. In the end its a good rental just to see Clive Owen and Jodie Foster but certainly not worth buying....more info
- DENZEL & SPIKE HIT ONE OUTTA THE PARK AGAIN!
As expected, Denzel Washington is in excellent form. I cannot even imagine him being any better, considering the body of work he has amassed during his career. Washington was eerily on point in "Malcolm X", smoothly sensual in "Mo Better Blues", and so intense in "Training Day" that he made me want to marry a thug!
In this flick, he exhibits everything that makes Denzel a master at his craft. His character is arrogant, thuggish, and intuitive. While I'm not a fan of director Spike Lee's choice of projects over the years, I find his crisp cinematography, inventive camera angles, intelligent editing, and moving jazzy soundtracks very impressive and a dominant thread in all of his films. The growth in these areas are evident here, exhibiting an inter-dependent and mutually beneficial relationship in this, Washington and Lee's fourth film together.
As for the other characters, Jodie Foster's talents are wasted - she just coasted through the film, with overtones of Clarice in "Silence of the Lambs". It seems as if she was included so that the movie trailer announcer could say "Academy Award Winner" twice! As for Clive Owen, this is the best that I have ever seen him, as charismatic and sympathetic as Hannibal Lechter. Chiwetel Ejiofor holds his own against the dominant Washington, giving the star the requisite amount of support and respect. The only person that I found totally out of place was that actress was who played Denzel's girlfriend. It took a lot more time than I usually allot to researching my reviews to find out who she was. I think her name is Cassandra Freeman. She had one film role before this and IT SHOWS! Her whole role could have been portrayed just as easily over the phone. In addition to Freeman's "school play" acting skills, her part was non-essential to the plot and far too young for the maturing Washington. She is a full THIRTY YEARS YOUNGER than Washington! What the ....?! For some reason, Hollywood seems to thrive on the older-man-way-too-much-younger-woman theme, instead of giving these female roles to "les femmes d'un certain age". Look at whose dominating the box office and award shows: Helen Mirren ("The Queen"), Meryl Streep ("The Devil Wears Prada"), and Judi Dench ("Notes on a Scandal"), etc. I can see the director not wasting such a vapid role on a top actress but, either beef up the role to make it worthy of a Angela Bassett, or have the lines called in, "Charlie's Angels"-style....more info
- Great Movie
Denzel is great in this movie, as he is in them all. The plot is a little far fetched, but worth the watch....more info
- Denzel... Same charactor as always. Nothing new.
As far as Spike lee films go, it's one of his better ones, and... least racial. As far as Denzel Washington films go, it's about the same as any other.
I got tired of Denzel after Crimson Tide. It seems he always has to have some racial element in his films. Here we get white cops who can't help themselves but throw racial terms around, a Nazi Jewish "white" guy, and a condescending "white" Jodie Foster. Denzel, of course, is the untouchable, unwavering, incorruptible, follow-the-law, smarter-then-the-people-around-him, black man, told to bend the rules, or accused of bending the rules by his white bosses, and chiefs.... even the mayor. It's the role he's been in so many times before, that Training Day was actually a nice change.
The story is simple, and interesting enough to watch all the way through, but there are no real surprises, and no exciting parts. Everything just moves along at the same pace through the film. It's more the interaction between the good actors that keeps this film flowing. Watch Ocean's 11, or the Italian Job if you want to watch something actually worth watching.
- (3.5): A Decent Bank Heist Movie
Spike Lee's modern take on the bank heist movie is a more effective social commentary than action movie. As entertaining and as suspenseful as the movie is, because the market is so full of shocking endings and neat plot twists that you already know that the ending will be something clever, which in itself has become formulaic, at least with movies in recent years. What makes this movie fun and socially relevant is the way Lee, in both subtle and not so subtle ways, includes matters of race, redemption, and guilt amidst a story pitting a highly intelligent criminal (Clive Owen) and a detective who has an insatiable desire to uncover the truth (Denzel Washington). This really is the kind of movie to watch on a late evening when you want to sit back and be entertained. ...more info
- Shamelessly clever, witty, twisty-turny intellectual thriller from Spike Lee
Spike Lee has never been known for his subtlety. He makes powerful films that are often smart ("Do the Right Thing"), occasionally not ("She Hate Me"), and sometimes brilliant ("Malcolm X," "4 Little Girls"), but there is never any question that Spike's first goal is to make an emotionally powerful film.
Lee departs drastically from past practice with "Inside Man," a hyper-smart heist movie that adopts all the tricks of the genre. While no "heist movie" is ever going to rise to the hallowed heights of "The Sting" in movie lore, Lee has made one heck of an enjoyable movie.
Clive Owen plays criminal ringleader Dalton Russell, and he tells the audience in the opening scene (shattering the fourth wall) that he has done a bank job, and here's how he did it. In broad daylight, Russell leads a handful of thieves into the downtown Manhattan branch of a powerful bank, founded in 1948 by Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer). Within moments, Russell has taken about forty hostages and has the bank surrounded by cops and media. And yet he hasn't touched the money and seems hardly perturbed. Why?
This question dogs lead detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) and his sidekick, Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor). It's clear that Frazier and Mitchell are used to being smarter than the criminals they face, but Russell is clearly in a different league.
Further muddying the waters is the appearance on the scene of Madeleine White (Jodie Foster) as a woman hired by Case to protect his interests in the bank . . . interests that are contained in security box 392. Miss White (there's the trademark Lee subtlety at work) is the kind of person who gets to patronize the mayor of Manhattan and lord her power over mere mortals such as Detectives Frazier and Mitchell. It's clear that Foster relishes this chance to play perhaps the biggest witch of her career, even if one wishes that Miss White were on screen a bit more.
The heist proceeds through its paces with the typical cadence of move and countermove by police and criminal. To summarize any more would be to give the game away, but like all great heist movies, "Inside Man" keeps you guessing right up until the very end. The fact that upon reflection the whole story is completely ridiculous is beside the point - heist movies are more about style and wit than logic, and are at their best when one player is able to move among the others as if he or she has had an advance peek at the screenplay.
Lee generally eschews his trademark focus on racial issues, and the few scenes where these arise feel contrived and beside the point. Fortunately, Lee never lets the movie get bogged down in these moments, and to his credit, spends about as much time with sexism as he does racism.
But never fear - this is an intelligent heist movie made by a talented, dedicated filmmaker. Solid work by the entire cast makes "Inside Man" a pleasure to watch - Mr. Lee and his team should be very proud, and it's not surprising that this movie has been Lee's biggest box office hit yet, and a sequel appears to be in the works....more info
- wish there were more being made
For my money, this is one of the better Hollywood pure entertainment films made in recent years. It's a lot of fun, the cast is as good as they come, the twists and turns in the plot are neat, the dialogue crackles, the direction is crisp, and it's a heist movie, one of the greatest of all subgenres. The one disappointing thing about it for me is that when the heist's ultimate masterplan is eventually revealed, you realize that it hinged on some very specific things to this particular bank and situation that couldn't be replicated elsewhere, so that takes away a bit of the satisfaction out of watching it unfold, to be perfectly honest. That quibble aside, highly recommended.
By the way, there is a nice extended version of the interrogation scene on the DVD but be warned that it runs about 20 minutes (!) and contains many re-edited elements that were used in a slightly different order in the film; maybe not a good idea to view that feature immediately after watching the film given its surprising length....more info