Directed by Spike Lee.
Written by Russell Gewirtz.
Starring Denzel Washington, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Clive Owen and
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 3/25/06
Spike Lee goes commercial!
In what has to be the biggest budget film
Spike has ever worked on, "Inside Man" showcases many similar traits
to smaller Spike flicks about race and class and injects a
sorta-twista script by first-time writer Russell Gewirtz to give us
a pretty satisfying film experience.
Oft-tapped Spike favorite Denzel Washington
plays Det. Frazier, a hostage negotiator under fire who along with
his partner, Det. Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor), get a call one
morning to deal with an apparent bank robbery in progress near Wall
Street in New York City. This robbery is being led by a guy
named Russell (Clive Owen), and in taking about 20 hostages, Russell
and his three cohorts intend to start killing two people an hour
unless their demands are met, hostage blah blah blah.
Meanwhile, the man who runs the bank (Christopher Plummer) hires a
special consultant (Jodie Foster), to reacquire the contents of a
safe deposit box at the bank to help the bank owner protect some
special interests. Twists ensue.
Consistently interesting, a little tense,
and intentionally confusing by showing us scenes from what happens
after the robbery as Frazier and Mitchell continue their
investigation, "Inside Man" is actually good fun by featuring a
safe, broad scope of humor to go along with good performances from
about a dozen recognizable actors. At no point do you watch
this film sensing greatness, but as a good film throughout "Inside
Man" is quite solid. I don't even know if Washington is acting
any more, as he can start talking about pizza boxes and make them
sound interesting. But, you throw him a cast that is stronger
than normal AND appears to give a shit--throw us a Foster, a Willem
Dafoe, a Plummer--and stronger-than-usual performances from your bit
players (Lee is always solid in this regard, getting juice from
almost all of his cast members), and it makes the two-hour ride
Plus, for a thriller, "Inside Man" has some
good laughs. You're not going to find yourself howling during
this thing, but hey, we're talking maybe 10-15 good snicker moments,
chuckle-to-yourself moments, bits that are funny but made funnier by
good comic timing. Conversely, the jazz-riddled soundtrack
doesn't fit most of the goings-on here; the action onscreen is tense
but we've got Smooth Jazz 105.9 playing in the background, which
doesn't work. The ending also has shades of
"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" in that it runs
a solid 10 minutes after what should have been the final ending of
the movie. There also was not enough of Florina Petcu, playing
an Albanian woman that is all too hot for one scene and 45 seconds
of screen time.
Otherwise, "Inside Man" is good stuff.
Hopefully, this will make more money than that dogshittish "Larry
the Cable Guy: Health Inspector", but people these days have proved
me wrong a TON this year!
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard