Wednesday, August 11, 2010


My name is Dalton Russell. Pay strict attention to what I say because I choose my words carefully, and I never repeat myself. I've told you my name: that's the Who.

The above is part of the opening narration from the film Inside Man. In this edition of Netflix This, I have a recommendation for a movie at least some of you have seen or heard of. I am referring to one of the best films I have ever seen, and definitely Spike Lee's best movie, or "joint" as the New Yorker refers to his films. This 2006 project is the crown jewel in Russell Gewirtz's writing repertoire as his only other legit project was the below average 2008 Righteous Kill (which I think was not great because of sub par writing). I must say that Gewirtz covered all his angles with Inside Man as it was one of the better written movies I have had the joy of watching. I always appreciate narratives that are not completely linear storytelling, and Inside Man dips into that cookie jar.

The ensemble cast is one of the best ever collected for any film. First off we have the intense game of cat and mouse between the great Denzel Washington and the devious Clive Owen. The two square off as Owen's character Dalton Russell enacts his perfect plan to rob a New York bank while the detective work of Washington's character Keith Frazier and the police-force try to spoil his attempt. Though Dalton seems to back himself into a corner by posting up in a bank with hostages, all his actions seem calculated and part of his masterful plan. The exchanges back and forth between these adversaries is not only brilliant dialogue, but it draws the audience into each man's deeper thoughts.

This Spike Lee gem also stars Jodie Foster in the best role of her career. You heard me right, this supporting role in Inside Man is the best of her distinguished filmography. Yes, of course I have seen her lead in Silence of the Lambs where her quiet but strong demeanor as Agent Clarice Starling got her an Academy Award. Her exceptional portrayal of Madeline White in this film is the definition of a superior intelligent woman of power who has such a commanding presence you are forced to watch her every tick while she is featured on screen. This character is one of my all-time favorites in any movie. Ever. I am not even a huge Foster fan. But I love this character, and her delivery of Ms. White ignites the fuse of greatness. Each time I pop the DVD into the player I find myself salivating as her best parts near. This role alone, makes Inside Man worth seeing at least once.

Did I forget to mention the film also stars the always spectacular Christopher Plummer, the versatile Willem Dafoe, and Chiwetwel Ejiofor? Besides those three rounding out the cast, even the lesser known actors from Inside Man turn in solid performances that make the viewer completely buy into one of the better bank heist movies ever made. Though I think it is the best, others will have differing viewpoints, and I was being diplomatic. While the movie is loaded with all of Spike Lee's typical critique of racial profiling and injustice in society, this heated topic takes a backseat to the task at hand which is unraveling this elaborate plan to rob the bank. Some of the racial banter is actually funny to hear though a little difficult to digest.

Before I wrap this whole spiel up, I also have to throw love out to the very fitting and awesome soundtrack that any music or movie fan can appreciate. Each intense scene's moments are amplified by the great compilation of music accentuating the images and heightening the audiences emotions. The end of the movie especially has a great collection of string symphony pieces that always make me want to cheer for this film fitting together so perfectly. If you watch or have seen this film, check the music rolling while Jodie Foster walks out of the barbershop after her conversation with Christopher Plummer.   

As you can tell from this write up, and my top ten list of movies highlighted in my profile on The Movie Mash, Inside Man is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I just recently watched it and thought, "I wonder if any readers out there have not had the pleasure of checking this masterpiece out?" So low and behold, I spread my recommendation to all of you. Even if this film isn't on you Netflix possibilites, go and buy it, because it is that great of a movie. If you don't like this movie after a viewing, then we definitely never need to meet. Unless your names is Sidney Rice.


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