As Inside Man opens, a man stares into the camera in a too-small room. He speaks in clear, clipped tones. "My name is Dalton Russell. Pay strict attention to what I say because I choose my words carefully and I never repeat myself." And bang – as Clive Owen looks out from the screen, director Spike Lee sets the hook for one of the most satisfying pieces of grown-up entertainment big Hollywood's given us in a long time. Both Lee and his anti-hero spend the next 128 minutes playing us, and by the time they're done, we're glad they did. 

Four painters show up at a bank in Manhattan's financial district. The bank doesn't really look like it needs painting, but that's okay; they're actually there to rob the place. They take out the surveillance cameras, round up the staff and customers and get everything under tight control in an eye blink. Then they tell the cops what they've done … and then they're in no hurry at all. NYPD Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) catches the case – and Frazier needs to put a win up on the board, since $140,000 in cash went missing from one of his busts recently and Internal Affairs is sniffing around. Frazier and his partner Mitchell (Chiwitel Ejiofor) head over to the scene, Frazier takes command of the police presence from Capt. Darius (Willem Dafoe) ... and soon comes to realize that the mystery men inside the bank are really calling all the shots.

When the bank's president (Christopher Plummer) is told of the robbery - and which branch specifically is being taken down - calls are made to Madeline White (Jodie Foster), a high-powered fixer armored in a perfectly tailored cream ensemble and a demeanor that's as cold, slick and hard as a frozen lake. Plummer doesn't want her to stop the robbery; that's in the NYPD's hands. What he wants is to make sure that one very specific item in the bank never, ever leaves it. …
categories Reviews, Cinematical