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Inside Man (2006)

It looked like the perfect bank robbery. But you cant judge a crime by its cover.

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 129 minutes

US Certificate: R

Spike Lee and Denzel Washington pair up for their 4th film with Inside Man.

Detective Keith Frazer (Denzel) is an NYPD hostage negotiator/detective with the perfunctory younger partner. Frazer, under investigation for corruption, is sent to negotiate with bank robbers who have taken hostages. Meanwhile, bank president Arthur Case(Christopher Plummer), uses his deep pockets to hire an outside professional to “protect his interest” in the robbery. It seems that a secret from Case’s past is tucked away in the bank’s vault. Lee doesn’t keep it a secret that the bank robbers, led by Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), are after the president’s secret. The subplots multiply and lead to an entertaining ending that resolved the majority of these.

The movie is quite entertaining and moves at a nice speed; however, at this point in cinematic history, it’s not really possible to make an original bank heist flick. Try as he might, Lee makes it interesting, but not original. Part of the film’s trouble is Madeline White (Jodie Foster). She’s a high paid “fixer” (think Pulp Fiction’s Winston Wolfe) who uses fundraising as a cover for her more nefarious dealings. She inserts herself into the investigation by pulling a few rather unbelievable strings. It makes for an interesting tactic, but it’s completely unbelievable. Jodie’s a great actor, but her character adds nothing to the film and arguable takes away from it.

Lee has a decent script to work with and uses flash-forwards to keep everyone on their toes. There’s also a good bit of suspense that makes it slightly less than predictable.

It's Got: Denzel. He’s just good. It also has a great supporting cast, Foster, Wilem Dafoe, Clive Owen, Christopher Plummer and Chiwetel Ejiofor (quite underrated as an actor)

It Needs: Characters with a little more depth. Foster’s character especially. This would avoid you thinking to yourself, “So what?”


Not the Spike Lee of old, but then again why can’t he make the movies he wants.