(Review originally written at 3 September 2006)

All that praise for this movie...while it in my opinion is nothing more than a simple written but very well directed heist movie which cast and style still make this an entertaining enough and certainly watchable movie. It however is a movie with a tad more misses than hits really.

Main problem for me was the story. Over and over again it is told in the movie that this is the perfect bank robbery. Quite frankly I really don't see back in the movie why exactly the plan is such a brilliant one. Also the twist at the end left me cold and it was far from satisfying for me. I found the story to be simple and formulaic written. The movie tried to make itself seem more complex and clever but putting some non-linear story lines in the movie but its all not enough to make the story seem more interesting or any more clever. Spike Lee's directing however certainly spiced things up and manged to give the movie still some flair and an excellent 'cool' atmosphere. Nevertheless the movie and its story just didn't hit me as clever, surprising or perfectly solidly written, which made the movie as a whole to me a bit simple although it certainly still was perfectly entertaining to watch.

"Inside Man" isn't really a movie that allows itself to be put in a corner. It's hard to classify this movie as to what genre it is. As a thriller it isn't tense enough and as a crime movie it isn't clever and tough enough. For most part the movie is mostly entertaining to watch but than again at the same time the movie tries to handle some more serious and delicate matters. Best example of this are of course the racial and discriminating issues, a returning element in Spike Lee movies. The moments felt forced, out of place and totally unneeded. Because this movie doesn't really fit in a genre its hard to known how and with what approach or distance to watch this movie.

The cast is impressive, perhaps a bit too. Denzel Washington is perfectly in his element, as yet again a police detective. He seems to be getting with every movie I see him in. Clive Owen isn't as impressive but he is a good actor and he plays his role convincing and 'cool' enough. The movie also has Jodie Foster and Christopher Plummer in it but it makes you wonder why. Their roles are small and don't seem significant enough, even though they play an important part in the story. This is mainly because their screen time is too limited and it feels like a huge waste of talent. Jodie Foster normally picks her roles very carefully and it makes me wonder why she ever agreed to be in this movie. Willem Dafoe on the other hand again is a perfect, pleasant and most welcome addition to the star-filled cast.

This movie still shows that Spike Lee is a great talented director with a nose for the business. This unfortunately in this case only shows in its style. The movie has some great executed- and almost artistically style-full sequences. It to me was the only reason why this movie still was a good- and entertaining enough movie to watch, for the story and its character left me cold mostly.

Simple entertainment. Style-full but not solid.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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