Vamshidhar Kommineni

August 20, 2006

Movie Review: Inside Man

Filed under: Movies — Vamshi @ 11:27 pm

Rating: 2.5 stars
Link to Ebert’s review
Link to Rotten Tomatoes’ review aggregation

Inside Man is Spike Lee’s latest effort after the rather badly received She Hate Me (which I haven’t seen yet) and the slightly better received 25th Hour (which I’ve seen and would rate better than this movie). The basic premise of the movie is a bank heist which turns out to reveal layers of complexities about the motives of the bank robbers, the bank owner and other involved parties.

The movie is set in New York and is visually beautiful and stylish as most of Spike Lee’s movies are. He’s probably the only other director after Woody Allen in which the city of New York is an integral character in his movies. His love for the city shows in how he shoots different parts of it.

The movie starts off nicely enough with well executed action sequences and setting up what promises to be a suspenseful movie. Where the movie goes awry for me is in how long it takes to set up and reveal the true motives of everyone involved and how anti-climatic they turn out to be. It’s almost as if Spike Lee started off making a fast paced movie, then decided to stitch in another movie.

Another place where the movie fails is in utilizing it’s great cast of characters. Denzel Washington is obviously the star of the movie, but Clive Owen, Willem Dafoe and Jodie Foster (particularly Jodie Foster) are tragically under-used.

No movie of Spike Lee would be complete without the social commentary that accompanies it. There is commentary here in the form of depicting corruption in the city government of New York, racial prejudice, the willing collusion of immoral people with the Nazis among other things. But the gripping narrative that underscores his social commentary in his other movies is missing here and the message the movie conveys is lost amongst the noise

I don’t particularly like bashing Spike Lee. He made "Do The Right Thing" which I consider one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. For that effort alone, I’ll watch his past and future movies, if only to await the next masterpiece from him.

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