7. INSIDE MAN
(Photo and poster: Universal Pictures)
By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel
Spike Lee's film dazzles, rivets and percolates with dynamic performances from Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer and especially Clive Owen, as a bank robber who doesn't repeat things. Every word he speaks is spoken for a singular reason. Every move he makes is calculated. He proves to be one step ahead of New York City Police detective Keith Frazier (Washington) and two steps ahead of everyone else, including the audience. Frazier, who has demons of his own, has to find out how to stop Owen's character Dalton Russell and his band of cohorts from doing any further damage at a downtown Manhattan bank.
Riddles, mysteries, red herrings, surprises, suspense and intelligent drama are packed into this splendid film, courtesy of director Lee and most impressively the screenplay of Russell Gewirtz, his first. Even with references to and influences of the film "Dog Day Afternoon", this is one of the most original police thrillers in several years. Well-crafted with another sterling music score from Terence Blanchard, "Inside Man" combines Mr. Lee's indelible trademarks of passion, provocation and power with the constraints of conventional Hollywood formula -- and both thrive wondrously. Produced by Brian Grazer, a sequel is already being discussed, with Mr. Lee expected to direct.
The PopcornReel.com film review of "Inside Man" first appeared on March 25, 2006.