I have to admit a weakness for movies that are thinking thrillers. A film that makes me think — not only about what’s going to happen next, but what’s really going on that the director and actors aren’t yet revealing to me yet. This keeps me on the edge of my seat and always captures my full attention.
From the time I saw the opening trailers of Inside Man, I knew I had to see the film. I missed it when it went through the theaters and regretted it. But I couldn’t get anyone to watch it with me. This is one of those films where you whisper back and forth to each other, trying to prove that you’re cleverer than the writer, director, and actors.
I have to admit, I figured out most of the plot as the movie progressed, but I did so at the proper times. During the two hours I watched, I was nailed to the seat and wasn’t even tempted to hit the pause button on the DVD player.
Inside Man is a slow-burner of sorts, though it starts out with the slam-bang action fest during the bank robbery that takes place at the start of the film. The thieves show cutting-edge tech by taking the cameras out with an infrared light projector, throw out smoke grenades, and start screaming at people to get down while waving AK-47s in their faces.
Almost immediately, a patrolman discovers the bank robbery and it looks like everything is about to turn bloody. The action switches to Detective Frazier (Denzel Washington), who’s currently under investigation by Internal Affairs for $140,000 that went missing from a bust. He’s put in charge of the negotiation situation, though.
Some attention is paid to the arrival of the SWAT team and how the two different law enforcement mindsets (negotiate versus kill-‘em-all) operate differently, but not enough is revealed to really show the inner workings. It almost looks like the bank robbery is going to be solved in the first thirty minutes, except that the bank robbers turn out to be too calm, too controlled. Frazier gets the feeling immediately that something is wrong.
The action spins out again, picking up the story of Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer in a role that he plays to the hilt). Case is strangely concerned that, out of the numerous banks he owns, the robbers have chosen to hit this one, which is probably the most secure of them all. You know from the start that Case has something in the bank he doesn’t want anyone else to know about.