Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Inside Man

Director: Spike Lee
Universal Pictures

Spike Lee takes over the reins of his racially different brother Ang Lee and directs this hush-hush sequel to Brokeback Mountain...OK, maybe not. Let's begin again. Spike Lee returns with a his first pop entertainment in quite some time. He's been busy, but he hasn't made a high-profile movie in awhile. Even movies like The 25th Hour and his biggest hit ever, the stand-up comedy fest Original Kings of Comedy weren't traditional movies. Spike Lee's career is definitely on a different kind of track from your traditional Hollywood (or in his case, New York) filmmaker. I'm actually going to say that he hasn't done a traditional movie since the nineties, and arguably, the early nineties. Lee has never been easy to peg, it's what makes him interesting, and it's what made him the "next [enter godlike director here]" when he did Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X. Inside Man opens on March 24.

Inside Man is his fourth collaboration with actor Denzel Washington. In this, Washington plays hostage negotiator Keith Frazier, trying to talk to bank robber Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), who has holed up with several hostages in a New York bank. Much like any heist movie, the bank robber has a can't miss scheme--this one involves putting everyone in the bank into painter's uniforms to add to the confusion whenever they are released or whenever the cops decide to crash through the windows. And that's about all you're going to know for awhile, except that you know this isn't a typical bank robbery--but what's so different about it? Frazier tries to solve this puzzle, along with his partner Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor), as Russell throws them a lot of red herrings. There's another matter with a wealthy bank chairman (Christopher Plummer) and a safe deposit box holding a damaging secret from his past that he's hired Madeleine White (Jodie Foster), a sort of mysterious government figure who shadily makes problems go away.

All of this combines into an energetic heist movie, one with plenty of surprises in store. Spike Lee shows his deft skill behind the camera and although Denzel Washington is intense, we never see him go way overboard, the kind of thing that has defined a few of his performances lately. Clive Owen is an awesome bad guy, the kind that makes Paul Bettany's in Firewall look even more ridiculous. Just a fun movie, one that will probably be the first big hit of the year.


At 3/13/2006 09:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see this movie! You now can get the chance to hang out with Spike Lee courtside at a NY Knicks game. Check out the Jackie Robinson Foundation's auction on


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