“Inside Man” is not a story that I would expect to be told by Spike Lee. He steps away from his typical racial themes to give us a lesson in deception. This unique crime thriller intersperses police interviews with flashbacks of the bank robbery in question. At first, the out of context interviews do not make much sense. As the story progresses, the flashbacks give meaning to the interviews until the end reveals that… all of our assumptions were wrong! The film alludes to (and even directly shows) how these criminals will pull off this heist, but you will still be completely shocked in the end. You have to love a story that successfully turns the bank robbers into heroes and the cops into bad guys. The intentionally convoluted story is supported by big-name actors who all live up to their reputations. Clive Owen is truly terrifying as the criminal mastermind, Denzel Washington balances his heroic moments and his situational failures, Jodie Foster successfully contrasts Washington’s straight-laced character with her shifty, sly role, Christopher Plummer provides the intrigue that makes us wonder what could be in his safe deposit box, and Willem Dafoe does exactly what you’d expect him to do in a gruff cop role. The film makes for a great rewatch. It has “The Sixth Sense” syndrome, where the twist blows your mind the first time but the film becomes a new experience with each subsequent watch as you catch more clues that you never realized were there. “Inside Man” has some violence and swearing, but it is pretty tame for an R-rated film and worth watching for its complex story and rewarding twist.
[Pictured: The characters never do what you expect]