Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Inside Man
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Sunday, 26 March 2006 20:56

Inside Man takes the typical bank heist formula and turns it into something well, not so typical. With a who’s who list of talented actors, a clever script and some interesting twists, this movie was a lot more fun than I thought it would be.

Heist movies have never really interested me much. With the exception of perhaps The Great Muppet Caper, I can never get myself all that excited about them. I mean, they’re all pretty similar right? You’ve got the Honest Cop, the Criminal Mastermind, the Buxom Bimbo who’ll do anything for her man. Inside Man has them all, but does it’s best to avoid cliché.

The movie starts out with an introduction to Dalton Russell (Clive Owen) who is narrating the story from a small cell. Immediately we get the impression that things didn’t go exactly as planned, since Russell is the ringleader of the robbers. From then on the movie is one big flashback that takes us from a regular morning in the bank, through the hostage situation and into the interrogation room.

Denzel Washington plays Detective Frazier, whose job it is to get the hostages out safely and communicate with the criminals. His reputation is on the line and this case could be the solution he needs to get out of a sticky situation. He’s also feeling pressure to propose to his girlfriend, but claims he can’t afford a ring. This is one part of the movie I didn’t buy. If he can’t afford a ring how can he afford those snazzy designer suits? We know nothing of his girlfriend except that she lay’s around in a candlelit bedroom all day waiting for him to come home with the “handcuffs”. I’m rambling, but I just didn’t believe that relationship.

Along for the ride are Willem Dafoe and Jodi Foster who play much smaller roles than I expected. Dafoe is reduced to little more than a cameo. Jodi Foster (who, by the way, looks younger than she did five years ago) is Madeline White a kind of criminal in her own right. Her job is to protect the interests of her clients who hire her for various confidential tasks. In this case, she is on job to protect the contents of a safe-deposit box for a bigwig with something to hide. If the bank is being robbed those secrets are in jeopardy.

What I liked about this movie is that even the “good guys” sometimes question their motives. For example Detective Frazier seems like an honorable man, but he can’t help give in to temptation when his promotion is in jeopardy.

Inside Man takes a cue from Crash on the subject of racism. In one instance a Sikh hostage has his turban taken away and the police refuse to give it back. Slurs are made about Arabs, African Americans, Russians - you name it. I found the message comes on a bit strong since it has nothing to do with the story. But Director Spike Lee has never been soft spoken about these hard topics.

I won’t give away too much of the story. If you are paying close attention you will probably guess some stuff along the way, but you will still be in for a few surprises. For the most part this is a fun and imaginative film that won’t disappoint. I give Inside Man 7 out of 10 stars.