Inside Man Review

This review was originally posted for MovieRobβ€˜s heist-themed Genre Grandeur (which was chosen by yours truly πŸ˜€ ).

Inside Man movie posterSynopsis
Hostage negotiator Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) gets called in when a Manhattan bank gets taken over by bank robbers, led by Dalton Russell (Clive Owen). Russell claims to have planned the perfect heist and is always one step ahead of the police. Meanwhile, the bank’s owner (Christopher Plumber) hires Madeleine White (Jodie Foster) to speak with the robbers and retrieve his prized possession contained in one of the safe deposit boxes.

Review
For my entry in this heist-themed Genre Grandeur, I was going to pick my favorite heist film, Ocean’s Eleven, but didn’t choose it for two reasons: 1) I’ve already reviewed it (which you can check out here), and 2) I’m hoping someone else chooses it for their Genre Grandeur entry. Instead, I opted to go with another one of my top heist films: Inside Man. Inside Man may not have the same fun atmosphere as Ocean’s Eleven but what it does have is a heist where the audience only has what little information the main characters have.

Heist films can be told from either the robbers’ perspective or the police’s perspective. Most often, whichever perspective the movie is told from, chances are that is who will prevail over the other. However, it is very hard to tell who will win the cat-and-mouse game in Inside Man. The movie is told from the police’s perspective but the robbers always seem to be one step ahead of them. As the audience, we are kept just as in the dark about the robber’s true motives as Detective Frazier (Denzel Washington) and the rest of the police force. It really keeps you engrossed in the film and on the edge of your seat if you don’t already know what is coming.

Denzel Washington and Clive Owen are both fantastic in this film. I wouldn’t say it is one of their best films for either actor but they are both able to take their parts and run with them. I liked Owen better, but only slightly, because he had the calm and collected thief mastermind shtick down. Washington and Chiwetel Ejiofor are so much fun to watch on screen together. They make a perfect pair of detectives, easily bouncing off each other and clearly having fun.

This film utilizes a seldom-used technique of flash forwards. These are used to get the some of the hostages’ perspectives about the bank robbery, as well as offer some exposition and even foreshadow events that are to come. Like I said, this technique isn’t used very often in movies and I thought it was used to great effect here. However, I wish it would have been used more because it only occurred a few times randomly in the middle act of the film. It could have been used more frequently to see more of the robbery from the hostages’ point-of-view. Maybe it was a time constraint (the film runs over two hours) or Spike Lee not wanting to offer too much of a good thing and leave us wanting more.

I feel like Jodie Foster’s character wasn’t necessary to the plot. She mainly served as exposition for what the robbers were going after and why it was so important to the bank owner, Arthur Case (Christopher Plumber). This information could have been given through Case’s discussions with the police or by Owen’s character, since it is the item he is trying to steal.

I thought Inside Man was GREAT :-D. Washington and Owen steal the show with their performances in a film with many other big names. The third main character, played by Foster, doesn’t feel completely necessary to the plot. Flash forwards are a cool effect used in the film that I wanted to see more of. Inside Man keeps you just as off balance as the other characters without becoming too complicated it trips over itself, creating a fantastic payout in the end.

Favorite Quote
Detective Mitchell: Let me see your shoe.
Detective Frazier: Huh?
Mitchell: Let me see your shoe.
Frazier: Why?
Mitchell: ‘Cause I have never seen anybody put their foot that far up a guy’s ass.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Spike Lee – Director
Russell Gewirtz – Writer
Terence Blanchard – Composer

Denzel Washington – Detective Keith Frazier
Clive Owen – Dalton Russell
Jodie Foster – Madeleine White
Christopher Plumber – Arthur Case
Williem Dafoe – Captain John Darius
Chiwetel Ejiofor – Detective Bill Mitchell
Carlos Andres Gomez – Steve
Kim Director – Stevie
James Ransone – Steve-O
Bernie Rachelle – Chaim
Peter Gerety – Captain Coughlin
Victor Colicchio – Sergeant Collins
Cassandra Freeman – Sylvia

Lightning Review: Sin City

Review #105

This review was originally posted for MovieRob‘s Latin Directors-themed Genre Grandeur.

Sin City movie posterSynopsis
In Sin City, corruption runs rampant and thugs rule the street. Four stories explore the darkest corners of this unforgiving city.

Review
Sin City isn’t just a comic book adaption, it’s a living, breathing comic book. I haven’t read any of Frank Miller’s Sin City books, but from what I’ve read and seen, it is almost (if not) frame perfect. Which is not too surprising given that Miller worked with Robert Rodriguez in the directors chair. Rodriguez’s cinematography combined with the book’s noir style is unparalleled. The voice over narration from the main characters of the five individual stories is reminiscent of the big noir films from the 1940s and 1950s. With specific items, like a red dress, lipstick, the Yellow Bastard’s skin, etc, it adds a unique feel the the film and its characters. The contrast between the shadows and white highlights to make items stand out, like Hartigan’s scars or Marv’s bandages, create a truly visceral visual experience. Much like 300, another of Miller’s comic-to-movie adaptations which was released the following year, the violence is brutal and graphically over-the-top. In other words: tremendous. If you haven’t seen Sin City, I have two things to say: 1) What is wrong with you? And 2) go watch it immediately!

Rating
4.5/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Robert Rodriguez – Director / Composer
Frank Miller – Director / Writer
Quentin Tarantino – Guest Director
John Debney – Composer
Graeme Revell – Composer

Jessica Alba – Nancy Callahan
Devon Aoki – Miho
Alexis Bledel – Becky
Powers Booth – Senator Roark
Jude Ciccolella – Liebowitz
Michael Clark Duncan – Manute
Rasario Dawson – Gail
Benicio del Toro – Det. Lt. Jack β€œJackie Boy” Rafferty
Jason Douglas – Hitman
Tommy Flanagan – Brian
Rick Gomez – Klump
Carla Gugino – Lucille
Josh Hartnett – Salesman
Rutger Hauer – Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark
Nicky Katt – Stuka
Clark Middleton – Schutz
Jaime King – Goldie and Wendy
Michael Madsen – Bob
Frank Miller – Priest
Brittany Murphy – Shellie
Lisa Marie Newmyer – Tammy
Nick Offerman – Schlubb
Clive Owen – Dwight McCarthy
Mickey Rourke – Marv
Marley Shelton – The Customer
Nick Stahl – Roark Junior / Yellow Bastard
Patricia Vonne – Dallas
Bruce Willis – John Hartigan
Elijah Wood – Kevin