Inside Man is a film that strives on uncertainty. The film, released in theaters March 24th, starts by giving audiences a glimpse of the ending which may seem to give away the story but is in fact part of the trickery.
To sum up this film in one word: Stalling. Appropriately enough, Inside Man is based upon the question as to why the robbers are stalling. The film slowly (emphasis on slowly) shows the audience what they really went into the bank for, or perhaps more importantly, how they plan to get out without being arrested.
From rising director Spike Lee (25th Hour, Summer of Sam) there was more expectation for quality, but which was instead put aside for too much quantity. The timing on this movie seemed to drag on and although the ending was worth the wait, it could have been more interesting.
The cast for Inside Man starred blockbuster actors Clive Owen, Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster. These enticing actors worked well in this non-stop, action/drama of a perfect robbery and yet they lacked the chemistry to truly lure in the viewers.
Hollywood’s newest hunk Owen (Sin City, Closer) could have easily captured the audience if only his facial expressions were visible; his face was covered with a white mask and sunglasses for the majority of the film. Owen, who plays the leading bank robber Dalton Russell, has created this vast plan of an unimaginable bank robbery at the Wall Street bank which plays out like a guessing game.
As for the NYPD, they thankfully have negotiator Det. Keith Fraizer, played by Washington (Manchurian Candidate, Remember the Titans). Washington plays an intellectual who strongly abides by his moral values. In the film, Fraizer is always aiming for a promotion (FBI First Grade) and is suspicious of the robbers’ demands as he slowly unravels the truth as to what they are really seeking. While Washington is a quality actor who can definitely play the role of a serious professional with charismatic personal quality, his acting in this film seemed fairly predictable.
Foster (Flight Plan, Silence of the Lambs) plays Madeline White, the oddest character in the film. Although her job description is never clearly defined, it is apparent that she has A-list friends such as the mayor who are willing to bend over backwards for her. The rest is left to presumptions. Foster’s acting is typical as she plays a hardheaded character who may have been better suited for a detective role.
The robbers’ plot is complicated and intriguing, arguably the only thing that keeps the audience interested. Inside Man is worth seeing, but don’t expect to come out thinking you saw an Oscar winner.
Rachael L. Hidalgo can be reached at: RLHidalgo@temple.edu.