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Inside man - Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Spike Lee

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

It looked like the perfect robbery. But you can't judge a crime by its cover.

Denzel Washington stars as New York police detective Keith Frazier, a tough, street-smart cop fighting for a promotion while trying to live down accusations of misconduct connected to his last case. When he and his partner are dispatched to the scene of an in-progress bank robbery and hostage crisis, Miller must face off against well-educated criminal Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), masterminding a concisely plotted operation. As negotiations grow more strained, Madeleine White (Jodie Foster), a powerful lawyer with mysterious ties, becomes involved in the crisis... and Miller slowly begins to realise that in this ultimate game of cat and mouse, rules are arbitrary, all roles are up for grabs and the black-and-white of right an wrong has blurred to a shadowy landscape of grey.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Inside man image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film crime thriller police detective bank robbery hostage

Persons of interest

  • Denzel Washington .... Keith Frazier
  • Clive Owen .... Dalton Russell
  • Jodie Foster .... Madeleine White
  • Ashlie Atkinson .... Burke
  • Cherise Boothe .... Jeanette Davis
  • David Brown .... Officer Carnow
  • Jonnie Brown .... Richard Payne
  • Willem Dafoe .... Captain Darius
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor .... Detective Bill Mitchell
  • Russell Gewirtz .... Storywriter
  • Russell Gewirtz .... Screenwriter
  • Spike Lee .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The first thing that you notice about Inside man is that the theme music is Bollywood. I don't know why Spike Lee chose that genre because there is only one (1) minor character with any connection to India. It's good, but.

The second thing that you notice is that Clive Owen's character is going to hide in the bank, biding his time until he can escape.

The third thing that you notice is that Denzel Washington's character, a police detective, can't solve a crime until he is at least threatened with being Taken Off The Case™. This is a common occurrence among police detectives in the USA, stemming from their wild and lawless cowboy days when a hero had to be able to ride off into the sunset (it's kind of hard to make a major exit like that when you have to be back at work the next day).

The fourth thing that you notice is that Inside man was made by an African-American filmmaker. You can tell this because the two police detectives are both African-American. Only an African-American would cast a film like that.

It's about now, some ten (10) minutes into the movie, that you realise that you don't know how this movie is going to end. The baddie is a good guy. The goodie is a good guy. They can't both win because then the goodie would have to be incompetent or complicit. Fortunately, there's a real baddie who is so bad that they make the ordinary baddie into a goodie. It's the only thing worse than a Nazi: a Nazi sympathiser (see also Mother night).

In the end, Inside man is a nicely entertaining bank robber movie with interesting crimes, gambits and twists: exactly what you're looking for.

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Strong coarse language, violence)

Surveillance time

129 minutes (2:09 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 30 March 2006

Cinema surveillance images

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