Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
From a cell, a man tells us he has planned the perfect bank robbery; he invites us to watch. An efficient gang enters a Manhattan bank, locks the doors, and takes hostages. They work deliberately, without haste. Detective Frazier is assigned to negotiate, but half his mind is occupied with the corruption charges he is facing. The bank's president has something to protect in a safe deposit box, so he brings in Madaline, a high-power broker with a hidden agenda. With an army of police surrounding the bank, the thief, the cop, and the plutocrat's fixer enter high-stakes negotiations. Why are the robbers asking for a plane, if they are so competent and they know they won't get one? Why aren't they in more of a hurry? If the job's perfect, why is the thieves' leader in a cell? Written by
The scene in the coffee shop was improvised. On the DVD commentary, Spike Lee states that when Denzel Washington ad-libbed the line, "I'll bet you can get a cab though," he nearly ruined the take by laughing so loud at Washington's line. See more »
Obvious stunt double when Frazier and Russell fall down the stairs. Frazier has a shaved head while the stunt man has a full head of hair. See more »
My name is Dalton Russell. Pay strict attention to what I say because I choose my words carefully and I never repeat myself. I've told you my name: that's the Who. The Where could most readily be described as a prison cell. But there's a vast difference between being stuck in a tiny cell and being in prison. The What is easy: recently I planned and set in motion events to execute the perfect bank robbery. That's also the When. As for the Why: beyond the obvious financial motivation...
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Again most unusual for a feature film all orchestra musicians are credited individually with their respective occupation. See more »
Note: I stay away from describing the plot in any detail because it would be very hard to do so without spoiling elements of it. "Inside Man" starts out as a no holds barred, high octane action-thriller, and by its midpoint fully transforms into a breezy, tongue-in-cheek heist movie, reminiscent of The Sting. I felt it to be a little over-plotted, but that comes with the genre - the expected twists and turns are all here, thankfully mostly in non-expected ways. Contrivances abound, and we don't really learn the background of the heist (ie. how the robbers learned about their target) but the story and the overall atmosphere more than make up for this. The meticulously designed plot also compensates for the lack of real 3D characterization - save for Denzel Washington's ambitious policeman hero, who at least achieves a level of humanity throughout the story. The character interaction between him and his sidekick (Chiwetel Ejiofor of "Serenity" fame) and the frustrated captain played by Willem Defoe is great with some sparkling dialog. Clive Owen is okay, most of the time convincing as the criminal mastermind, although he spends most of the film wearing a mask. I'd say this film is harmless fun, not your usual Spike Lee fare, which goes to prove his versatility. There is a hint in the back-story at some heavy issues of the past, but it's nothing more than a macguffin that only achieves some slight significance in the resolution of the movie. There is a neat structural trickery in the use of flash-forward scenes, hinting toward the aftermath of the heist without giving away the real ending. It's used sparingly and cleverly. I can highly recommend this movie, it is never boring for a moment, what's more, I was enjoying it so much that as events were progressing toward the climax, I was wishing it would go on. And that's very rare for me in the movies nowadays.
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