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Inside Man

It looked like the perfect bank robbery. But you can't judge a crime by its cover.  

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Inside Man

Director: Spike Lee

Starring: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster

Spike Lee has made a name for himself by establishing a style that is gritty yet stylish, confrontational yet popular. His films are constantly provocative and unflinchingly intense. So when a director such as Lee helms a film starring three of the most intense performers around, Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster and Clive Owen, you can think twice about checking your brain at the door. In Washington, Lee has an actor who embodies his directorial style perfectly. As NYPD Detective Keith Frazier Washington is eminently watchable. He is tough, smart and determined, but most importantly he is flawed. Specifically he is rash, impulsive and headstrong, certainly a refreshing change from the cardboard cut-out benevolent hero cop figure. Whilst this certainly is a more mainstream film than Lee’s usual output, relying as it does on the sub genre of the bank heist, it still feels very much like his film. Rather than, as is the norm, allowing the viewer to think they know what is going on from the start only to pull the rug from under them at the end Lee makes it very clear from the start that the audience will have no clue until the final reel.

The film starts with Owen’s bank robber declaring himself the perpetrator of ‘the perfect bank robbery’ and from thereon in Lee flits between Owen’s monotone mayhem and Washington’s furious confusion, also weaving a subplot involving Christopher Plummer’s businessman with a seedy past and the ruthless lawyer (Foster) he employs to ensure the bank robbery does not reveal secrets he would rather stay hidden.

What Lee has managed to make in his first foray into mainstream filmmaking is a film which ticks all the boxes for enjoyable and engaging entertainment yet still challenges and provokes a reaction before forcing you to question your own response. The Inside Man is no mere popcorn fodder; it is a Spike Lee joint.

Peter Lefort

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Autumn Term (35mm)