Inside Man (2006) 3.95/5 (3)


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Rating: The Good – 72.8
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Duration: 129 mins
Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie FosterWillem DafoeChristopher Plummer

Spike Lee takes an above average heist story and turns it into a slick and deliciously layered minor classic. Denzel Washington plays the hostage negotiator who is called to the scene of a bank robbery where the hostage-takers (led by Clive Owen) employ a series of clever tricks which keep the police in a constant state of confusion. Add some conspicuous interference from the Mayor’s office, the owner of the bank (Christopher Plummer), and their pit-bull representative Jodie Foster, and matters become even more complicated for Washington’s character. The plot is gripping and the dialogue is Lee’s usual brand of real-cool/cool-real but the two standout strengths of this film are the acting and its structuring. Washington revels in his role as the seemingly carefree cop, Willem Dafoe and Chiwetel Ejiofor as his deputies are great bang for your buck, Foster is pure nastiness and Owen seems in charge of everything. The story is structured slightly unorthadoxly so that as the heist is progressing, the film intermittently skips forward and gives us snippets of the hostages’ later accounts to the police. This allows Lee to send us wherever he wants in terms of our suspicions and keep surprising us as he does. Lee’s slick touch is all over this and, in general, it makes an already top story a real treat to watch.

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