Inside Man

Inside Man begins as yet another cinematic glorification of clever gangsters. They enter Manhattan Trust Bank in New York, demand employees and patrons to strip and put on blue jumpsuits, lock them up, and enter the safe. NYPD is quickly alerted, sends a team, and Detective Keith Frazier (played by Denzel Washington) tries to negotiate an end to the hostagetaking and apparent robbery in progress. But Dalton Russell (played by Clive Owen) is in no hurry to finish the job; he orders food for the hostages and an escape jet plane. Russell knows that there will be no jet plane, but he does not seem to mind. Occasional flashforwards to interviews with released hostages reveal only that the “gangsters” were never caught. Meanwhile, Madeline White (played by Jodie Foster) is summoned by bank president Arthur Case (played by Christopher Plummer) to make a deal with the “criminals.” Presumably, she will get her cut. She approaches Frazier, who allows her to enter the bank to negotiate with Russell, but their discussion is in code, and filmviewers remain in the dark about what is really going on. Unsuccessful in getting the “gangsters” to surrender, Russell stages a fake execution of two hostages, whereupon Frazier is relieved of command and his subordinate, Captain John Darius (played by Christopher Willem), prepares to lead a SWAT team into the bank to rescue the hostages. However, Russell then allows the hostages to leave along with the rest of his entourage, all of whom are arrested and subsequently interrogated, while Russell remains hidden in the bank. No money is taken, however, and the hostages are unharmed. Finally, after hints that Case is a war criminal, the real plot is revealed, including surprising rewards for Frazier from Russell and White. Unsurprisingly, director Spike Lee takes advantage of the opportunity to interject a few reminders that racism is still pervasive in American society. MH

Scroll to Top