Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Inside Man

At six-thirty this morning, on the way to the gym, I passed two women on the street. One said to the other, "I can't believe you didn't like 'Inside Man!' I loved that mother-fucking movie. That Denzel Washington, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm." I didn't hear her friend's response, but I immediately thought, "absolutely."

I saw a lot of trailers for this film - scratch that, I saw one trailer a lot of times for this film - without realizing it was a Spike Lee movie. Much in the way that "Match Point" wasn't a typical Woody Allen film, I wouldn't identify this one in a blind screening as Spike Lee. I mean, I've enjoyed a lot of Lee's films (I even met him at a premiere for one of them - I'll tell that story another time) but I never thought of him as the crime-caper type. And yet? He really pulled it off. The film has hints of "Ocean's 11" and "The Usual Suspects" and a great deal of pure New York sensibility. I don't know how some of it will play in the rest of the country (world), but our theater was cracking up a lot. (And cheering - as when a young boy hostage is asked, "Were you scared?" and he says, "No, I'm from Brooklyn!") Some of the film is light-hearted and fun, and amazingly enough that isn't a distraction. The caper itself is smart and yet there are enough clues along the way that when all is revealed, it's within reason. I will admit that I was looking for clues constantly; there is a scene where a hostage is taken into an office and beaten, and we half see it through a window. I was convinced that it was faked, that the hostage was in on the conspiracy with the robbers, but now I think it was just bad blocking.

Denzel Washington is still fine, (and I mean that in the mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm sense), even in a role where he's, well, just an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. I love Clive Owens, too, and he didn't disappoint, although I would have liked Jodie Foster better if I understood more about her character. I always have mixed feelings about Jodie Foster because I admire her so much - she's almost exactly my age, has had a long and successful career on her own terms, and keeps her private life private. So when I don't love her in a movie role, I want to make excuses for her. In this case, I don't think she does a terrible job, I just think the part is underwritten. Call that an excuse if you will, but let me also add that she still has great legs.

Watching this film also brought home how fake "24" is. There is no way that CTU can have the technology to do one tenth of what they manage to do, at least in the timeframe in which the show wants you to believe they do it. Within minutes of an event, CTU has logged onto the site's security system, taken control of everything, can track people through infrared/heat technology, and relay all of that information to Jack Bauer via an earpiece. (I'm not giving away any spoilers here, this is seemingly standard procedure as it happens regularly.) In real life, or at least in Spike Lee's NYC, the NYPD has a mobile technology communications center and they manage to get access to the bank's security cameras and floorplan, but it takes some time and at no time do their screens light up with brightly colored images showing where the "hostiles" are located. Of course having access to that kind of information would ruin the whole movie, now wouldn't it?


Blogger Pynchon said...

I liked "Inside Man" as well. A bit generic, but it is good.

Totally concur with your thoughts on Jodie Foster's legs as well. Heh, heh. Shame that she did not have a great deal to do in the movie.

11:02 AM  

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