The Inside Man has a taut opening, some nice comedic scenes and a nice build up. All of this makes the first 90 minutes feel like the start of a beautiful relationship. Things are going well, you’re splitting the check and she doesn’t seem to notice you haven’t showered in weeks and have a definite lisp. She asks if you want to see her house. Hell yeah you do! You get home and guess what happens? She falls asleep on the couch while you watch “The Brady Bunch” on late night television. “Brady Bunch” isn’t terrible but it’s not exactly sweet sweet lovin’, is it?
Crap, where did this metaphor start? Okay, I’m just going to start a new paragraph and see if we can regain momentum here. Remain calm.
To the point, this one doesn’t have a payoff. It has no snap, crackle, or pop when the milk splashes the bowl. It almost makes you forget how well this film opens. Almost, if you weren’t a tip-top crazy decent reviewer sort. Denzel is good, Clive is good, Jodie is actually really good. Everyone does well in their part, no problems there. The problem is the plot and perhaps the direction.
The story, if you missed the twelve zillion trailers, is a bank heist. Clive Owen is the robber, Denzel Washington is the cop. Jodie Foster is the shadow agent of an interested party who is paid to insert herself into the situation. The story begins when Clive rolls into a bank with three of his pals and proceeds to take hostages and start issuing demands. As per our usual arrangement I won’t divulge further details regarding what this all leads up to. You pay your eight bucks and like it – no jibba jabba!
Spike Lee really impressed me with 25th Hour. I saw glimmers of a great filmmaker in He Got Game. I saw even more maturity with Summer of Sam. When 25th Hour came out I told everyone I knew that our guy Lee was all growed up, that he had entered the realm of “must see” guys. Now Inside Man comes around and I think I might have thrown him in the ring too soon. This one looks cool and feels cool but it has no soul. We all know without soul there wouldn’t be a Motown. You must have soul is what I’m getting at. Inside Man fades away like a UTI after antibiotics. You leave the theater and say “huh” rather than “WOWIE!” Quite a difference. I wish it was better but the facts are the facts, ma’am.
I would say, see this if you’ve already caught V for Vendetta because nothing else out there is worth a second glance. It’s a decent enough popcorn flick which will go down easy. Not every film can be great. Some have to be okay. Spike, I’m sorry man, I could see you getting back in the club at some point. Just work on the soul my brother.