Inside Man (2006) When we rented this we didn’t even realize it was a Spike Lee Joint; we were attracted by Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster, two folks who have never turned in a bad performance even in a bad movie. The Spike Lee brand name leads you to expect a certain type of product, and this isn’t it. It’s a straight thriller/puzzler, and wants to be like The Usual Suspects, slamming you hard with a big surprise at the end. It is so complex, and so carefully drawn, that I can’t tell you much about the plot except that it involves a big bank robbery. It is superb in the details, every minor character sharply drawn and totally New York … except it is interspersed with interviews with the hostages that obviously come after the heist. We realize that at least one of these people is one of the robbers because the detectives are browbeating them mercilessly, and not one of them clams up and asks for a lawyer. I mean, come on. Wouldn’t you? The very first time the words “Are you one of the robbers?” came out of a cop’s mouth, that’s when I’d say not another word until my lawyer arrived. So would most New Yorkers.
Eventually stuff like that sinks the movie. It had me up until about 90 minutes in, and it is ingenious, but finally I didn’t buy it.