Inside Man

Inside Man
Rated R; Directed by Spike Lee; Starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer

When you see the kind of high quality cast and director that the film “Inside Man’” has, a feeling of anticipation is raised. Of course, there’s also that niggling feeling of dread. Will “Inside Man” be one of those flicks that sound great on paper, but fall apart on screen? Luckily, “Inside Man” doesn’t disappoint. Though not as suspenseful as it could be, it is smart and entertaining.

“Inside Man” has quite a cast. Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, and Jodie Foster star in this cop and robbers tale. Washington is the cop – a hostage negotiator brought in when Clive Owen (“Derailed,” “Sin City”) and his gang take over a Manhattan bank and hold the employees and customers hostage. Meanwhile, Jodie Foster’s character is called in to protect the interests of the bank’s owner, played by Christopher Plummer.

The fun in the script is that there seems more to the bank heist than just grabbing money. We don’t know what the robbers are up to. The actors also add to the mystery. Denzel Washington brings some ambiguity to his character and there are questions about whether his character can be bought. Jodie Foster has fun playing a woman whose moral sense isn’t as developed as her ambitions. The big-money talent delivers.

Director Spike Lee keeps things interesting. He is able to give the film a drive and energy that doesn’t flag. What the script and Lee can’t deliver is a taut, suspenseful film. It lacks any reason to chew fingernails in fear of what happens next. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but a thriller should have more thrills. Still, it’s fun and entertaining and a decent movie.


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