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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Autumn 2006

Inside Man (2006) movie review

Imperfect Crime


Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) has a cloud hanging over his career, but he has a chance at a high-profile hostage negotiation. A group of bank robbers has taken over a bank and are holding 11 people hostage. And then there is the curious fact of Ms White (Jodie Foster), the favour-monger and fix-it queen who has come on the scene to negotiate on behalf of the bank.

Inside Man is told with a combination of real life realistic filming and colour-processed flash forwards of the post-situation interviews by police.

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Movie poster, Inside Man
It looked like the perfect bank robbery. But you can't judge a crime by its cover.

The result is slick, but slow-moving. The drama slows down while director Spike Lee watches the characters interact. It's not often one complains about too much characterisation in a caper film, but in this case the action stops and starts as the focus moves from Frazier to White to flashforwards and back to the situation in the bank.

Inside Man tries to end with cascading surprises, but most of these are obvious and since we know they are coming, it further adds to the sense of the film dragging its heels.

Interesting devices, but slow and disappointing.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release March 2006
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

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Just the facts:

Title: Inside Man (2006)
Written by: Russell Gewirtz
Directed by: Spike Lee
Running time: 129 mins
Rating: MA

The Players: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe

Official website:
IMDb entry

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