Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Inside Man

I had been looking forward to seeing Inside Man for quite some time. I like Spike Lee generally, and I have liked him from way before he became "accessible" to mainstream white America.

What I find now, though, is that his fiction movies are becoming less politicized. Not that that's a bad thing. And I wonder whether this stems from his greater involvement in documentary film-making in recent years. Perhaps now that he has an outlet for his political thoughts, he doesn't feel the need to bog down his fiction with it? It will be fascinating to see how he gets on with TV drama if his show about New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina comes to fruition.

Anyways, that's a whole other ball game. For now, let's talk about the movie at hand, which stars Brits Clive Owen and Chiwetel Ejiofor alongside heavywight Hollywood Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster. As much as I like Ejiofor, I was never a fan of Owen until Sin City and Closer. In both films he was a revelation, and I've come to quite like him now. He was good again in Inside Man.

This film combines several of my favourite things:
a heist plotline; a macguffin; a 1940s-type noir-inspired soundtrack, with shades of Herrmann and even Badalamenti.

Almost the whole of the plot is the heist, and I'd go on to say that this is a first-class heist picture. I wish Lee had left it at that. Because although I like macguffins, this one could have been dropped altogether, doing away with Jodie Foster entirely, and it would have been a far stronger picture. As it was, the last 15 minutes felt tacked on and a letdown after what was a blistering, exciting film up to that point.

That said, this is one of the best films I've seen in a long time, and it certainly deserves a place on my DVD shelf.

The scores
Acting: 16
Story: 16
Direction: 17
Enjoyment: 16
Involvement: 18
Total: 83

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