Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Moviewatch: "The Inside Man"

"The Inside Man"
Director: Spike Lee
Fien Print Rating (Out of 100): 72
In a Nutshell: I've actually seen a few good movies in the past couple weeks. That's hopeful. And the best of the films I've seen this year, "Brick," I saw before I started blogging... Anyway, "The Inside Man" is a bit of an odd mishmash. It's a heist movie, to some degree, but thanks to Lee and first-time screenwriter Russell Gewirtz, it comes across as genuinely intelligent, rather than merely glossy and glib in the way that some many post-"Usual Suspects" and post "Ocean's 11" genre films have been. The point isn't colorful characters with funny names and huge implausible twists that you'd never see coming because they don't make any sense. It's a movie about smart people playing simultaneous cat-and-mouse games with other smart people and, as a result, the viewer is forced to constantly pay attention and constantly think things out, just in order to keep track of motivations, strategy and, mostly, who's playing whom. Lee and cinematography Matthew Libatique deserve kudos, as does the entire cast, which includes typical standout work from Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster, as well as good supporting turns from the likes of Christopher Plummer, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Willem Dafoe. I'm not sure, though, that Universal has done a good job marketing this one. The title is generic and the Blue Note Jazz-inspired poster graphics are cool, but probably remote for most viewers. In addition, viewers don't really like excessive thought with their popcorn movies. "The Inside Man" will have fans, but I'd be surprised if it were a smash.

Check Zap2it.com on Friday, March 24 for a full review.

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