Inside Man (2006)

Rated R. Our ratings: V-3 ; L-4 ; S/N-1 . Running time: 2 hours 9 min.

No one who conceals transgressions will prosper,
but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy…
One who walks in integrity will be safe,
but whoever follows crooked ways will fall into the Pit.
Ecclesiastes 28:13, 18.

Inside Man

Spike Lee, directing from Russell Gewirtz’s screenplay, takes us on a thrill ride in this bank-heist caper. Even though we know that appearances can be deceiving, I don’t think you will guess how this film turns out. Denzel Washington plays Det. Keith Frazier, a NYPD hostage negotiator called into service because his superior is away. He and his assistant Det. Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) rush to the bank where a masked gang of perhaps four robbers has taken over with fifty hostages in tow. Led by Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), the robbers seem to be utterly ruthless and without conscience as the leader savagely beats the head banker who tried to lie about leaving his cell phone at home. When the two detectives arrive on the scene, now surrounded by a horde of SWAT team members, TV reporters, and the curious, they find that Capt. John Darius (Willem Dafoe) inside his large. Electronic gadget-filled van has efficiently secured the area.

Frazier decides to wait for a while before trying to contact the “perps,” a technique of gaining the upper hand. However, as events uphold, he discovers that at every point, thanks to careful planning, the hostage takers are the ones very much in control of events. To confuse everyone, they order the hostages to strip and put on jumpsuits and masks identical to what they are wearing, so as they releases one or two in accordance with their plan, the police are not certain whether they are dealing with a criminal or an innocent civilian. In deed, scattered throughout are scenes of the detectives questioning various hostages, treating them as if they are in on the heist. We wonder about these scenes, obviously taking place after the police has retaken the bank: only at the end do we understand how they fit in.

While the deadly drama is unfolding at the bank, the elderly founder of the bank Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer) contacts Madeline White (Jodie Foster), a discrete “fixer” of difficult problems of the wealthy. Case has a safety deposit box with something very valuable that must not fall into the hands of the wrong party. Through her connection with the Mayor, Madeleine is able to join Frazier’s team and even gain access to the bank for a conference with the head of the gang. What secret she has been commissioned by Arthur Case to protect we do not learn until after several surprising twists in the plot reveal the true nature of the assault on the bank.

There is a matter of banker Arthur Case’s age that could have been avoided by setting the film in the 70’s or 80’s—you’ll see what I mean when you see the film—but the film is too enjoyable to quibble over such a detail. This is not vintage Spike Lee, but it still is good, including such details as the police mistaking a turbaned Sikh for an Arab, and thus a terrorist. Crime capers do not come much better than this thriller, which also affirms the message of the author of Ecclesiastes Inside Man Rated R. Our ratings: V-3 ; L-4 ; S/N-1 . Running time: 2 hours 9 min.

No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy… One who walks in integrity will be safe, but whoever follows crooked ways will fall into the Pit.

Ecclesiastes 28:13, 18.

Spike Lee, directing from Russell Gewirtz’s screenplay, takes us on a thrill ride in this bank-heist caper. Even though we know that appearances can be deceiving, I don’t think you will guess how this film turns out. Denzel Washington plays Det. Keith Frazier, a NYPD hostage negotiator called into service because his superior is away. He and his assistant Det. Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) rush to the bank where a masked gang of perhaps four robbers has taken over with fifty hostages in tow. Led by Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), the robbers seem to be utterly ruthless and without conscience as the leader savagely beats the head banker who tried to lie about leaving his cell phone at home. When the two detectives arrive on the scene, now surrounded by a horde of SWAT team members, TV reporters, and the curious, they find that Capt. John Darius (Willem Dafoe) inside his large. Electronic gadget-filled van has efficiently secured the area.

Frazier decides to wait for a while before trying to contact the “perps,” a technique of gaining the upper hand. However, as events uphold, he discovers that at every point, thanks to careful planning, the hostage takers are the ones very much in control of events. To confuse everyone, they order the hostages to strip and put on jumpsuits and masks identical to what they are wearing, so as they releases one or two in accordance with their plan, the police are not certain whether they are dealing with a criminal or an innocent civilian. In deed, scattered throughout are scenes of the detectives questioning various hostages, treating them as if they are in on the heist. We wonder about these scenes, obviously taking place after the police has retaken the bank: only at the end do we understand how they fit in.

While the deadly drama is unfolding at the bank, the elderly founder of the bank Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer) contacts Madeline White (Jodie Foster), a discrete “fixer” of difficult problems of the wealthy. Case has a safety deposit box with something very valuable that must not fall into the hands of the wrong party. Through her connection with the Mayor, Madeleine is able to join Frazier’s team and even gain access to the bank for a conference with the head of the gang. What secret she has been commissioned by Arthur Case to protect we do not learn until after several surprising twists in the plot reveal the true nature of the assault on the bank.

There is a matter of banker Arthur Case’s age that could have been avoided by setting the film in the 70’s or 80’s—you’ll see what I mean when you see the film—but the film is too enjoyable to quibble over such a detail. This is not vintage Spike Lee, but it still is good, including such details as the police mistaking a turbaned Sikh for an Arab, and thus a terrorist. Crime capers do not come much better than this thriller, which also affirms the message of the author of Ecclesiastes