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DVD Talk review of 'Inside Man'

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DVD Talk review of 'Inside Man'

Old 07-31-06, 12:06 AM
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DVD Talk review of 'Inside Man'

I read Preston Jones's DVD review of Inside Man at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=22958 and...

was disappointed in the lazy review. This is a really fine film and I hope those who haven't seen it will not let this review deter them from it. Jodie Foster is completely different here than anything I've seen her in and the entire cast is very good.

The reviewer seems very disappointed in the ending, but doesn't specifically identify what it is that upsets him. Even if I didn't find the ending perfect, I thought it still was plenty satisfying and the rest of the movie more than made up for any shortcomings. He also mentions "25th Hour" as Spike's last worthwhile film and wonders if his best days are behind him, yet the director has only made "She Hate Me" and "Inside Man" since then with the latter being the biggest hit of his career and getting very positive reviews.
Old 07-31-06, 09:13 AM
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I'm sorry you felt the review was lazy, but I didn't feel I could discuss what really bothered me about the film without getting into major spoilers and anyone coming fresh to the film should at least be able to experience it without having it all spelled out for them ... suffice to say that, to me, Inside Man is a long way to go for not much.
Old 07-31-06, 11:36 AM
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I too thought the ending was great and nicely ambiguous. Far too many films treat their audience like they're idiots...INSIDE MAN is one that doesn't.
Old 07-31-06, 11:51 AM
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I find that a little lazy then, to not give a stronger recommendation to a worthy movie and then withhold specific reasons under the guise of not wanting to spoil the film. For instance, is your problem with Clive Owen's character's motivations or something to do with the Christopher Plummer character or something else? I found the ambiguity of the ending a little lacking but the journey to get there was so refreshing that it didn't bother me. How can you not get a kick out of hearing a Bollywood song in a film like this or seeing Spike's little digs like the young boy's video game?

As for Spike Lee's decision to make the movie, obviously I can't speak for him but I have to wonder if it might have had something to do with his constant struggle to obtain financing for the movies he writes or wants to make. Maybe he figured he'd try to put his own spin on a heist picture and it would give him more freedom for future projects. Whatever his reason, I'm glad he made "Inside Man" because it's nice to sometimes have popcorn entertainment made by capable filmmakers.
Old 07-31-06, 12:42 PM
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As someone who loved the movie, I have to side with Preston on this one. Spoilers aside, he makes all the points that he needs - namely, that top notch acting is undermined by a weak screenplay. (I don't agree with him, but he makes his point well enough for me to say "well said.")

What I don't quite get, Souvenir, is why you're so upset over this review, which is a positive one overall. Is it that he liked the movie, but not as much as you think he should have?
Old 07-31-06, 01:34 PM
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Wow, attack of the DVD Talk reviewers. I'm not "so upset" over the review at all. It just seemed to be full of complaints ("It's a cracking lineup sadly wasted" or "Lee's seeming incapability isn't worth the energy it takes to finish off a box of Milk Duds") despite being recommended. Plus three out of five stars is a weak recommendation for a film like this in such a terrible year for movies thus far. People on the fence might read the review and not bother with the film at all, which would be unfair.

In fact, my complaints over the review were not meant against the reviewer so much as for those unsure of whether the movie warranted a purchase or rental. It seems like Spike Lee's films tend to cause a great deal of acrimony and some people, from reading comments elsewhere, are reluctant to watch a movie just because he directed it. I would think that "Inside Man" would please even those type of people and should be recognized as the fun, exciting film it is without dwelling on the ending's failure to lay everything out nice and neat for the viewer.
Old 07-31-06, 01:44 PM
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Speaking as someone who defended She Hate Me when it was less than warmly received by both audiences and critics, I feel safe in saying that I'm not just dumping on Lee because he failed to give me an ending wrapped up in a nice bow. I can appreciate ambiguous as much as the next guy, but he generates so much momentum in the heist/hostage sequences that to watch the final 20-30 minutes slowly drain away any semblance of tension is a let down. I understand the implications of the ending, but I just feel that Lee could've gotten there faster. I don't say anywhere in the film that it's a total wash and please skip it, but rather that the cast is fantastic and are ultimately let down by both Lee and Gewirtz's screenplay. It merits a look for anyone with a passing interest in Lee's work.
Old 07-31-06, 01:45 PM
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I would've been even harder on the film than Preston, personally. I really wanted to like it, but it's just a run-of-the-mill heist movie with an ending you can literally figure out in the first scene. Even my wife, who's usually oblivious to plot twists, knew exactly what was happening every step of the way.

The motivation for Owens' character isn't very well defined. And how old is Christopher Plummer's character supposed to be, anyway? He'd have to be at least 110 for the plot to work.

I wouldn't go any higher than a "Rent It".
Old 07-31-06, 03:22 PM
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Preston, I specifically remember your using that "isn't worth the energy it takes to finish off a boc of Milk Duds" line in your review of that "Grand Illusion"/"Pink Flamingos" two-pack. What in God's name do you have against Milk Duds? You're not one of those Junior Mints agitators, I hope ...
Old 07-31-06, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z
And how old is Christopher Plummer's character supposed to be, anyway? He'd have to be at least 110 for the plot to work.
Yep, that's one of the problems I DID have with the film. But I let Lee slide on this one, and enjoyed it. I suppose he could have been in his 20s when certain events happened in his life...that would let him get away with being about 85 or so...

Last edited by Shannon Nutt; 07-31-06 at 10:56 PM.
Old 07-31-06, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
Yep, that's one of the problems I DID have with the film. But I led Lee slide on this one, and enjoyed it. I suppose he could have been in his 20s when certain events happened in his life...that would let him get away with being about 85 or so...
I'm sorry, but there has never been a bank president in his 20s in the history of banking.
Old 07-31-06, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh Z
I'm sorry, but there has never been a bank president in his 20s in the history of banking.
Joe Kennedy (John, Bobby & Ted's father) was a bank president when he was just 25.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr.
Old 08-01-06, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
Joe Kennedy (John, Bobby & Ted's father) was a bank president when he was just 25.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr.
Bah, stupid facts!
Old 08-08-06, 05:10 PM
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One of the worst films I've seen in recent memory.
The writing is laughably bad, the plot is a joke,
it's really a total incoherent mess. The actors
could have been good if they had anything at
all to work with. I want those 2 hours of my life back.

HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED.
A root canal would be more enjoyable than sitting thru this awful mess.

Avoid at all costs and destroy any copies that you can, for the good of humanity.

Last edited by porieux; 08-08-06 at 05:13 PM.
Old 08-08-06, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by porieux
One of the worst films I've seen in recent memory.
The writing is laughably bad, the plot is a joke,
it's really a total incoherent mess. The actors
could have been good if they had anything at
all to work with. I want those 2 hours of my life back.

HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED.
A root canal would be more enjoyable than sitting thru this awful mess.
A tip: When you wildly exaggerate minor complaints, people are less likely to take you seriously.
Old 08-08-06, 05:14 PM
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Actually I highly understated my views. Thanks for trying to define my opinion for me though. My complaints are far from minor, but they also aren't worth the time of belaboring.
Old 08-09-06, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by porieux
One of the worst films I've seen in recent memory.
You're not seeing a lot of movies, are you?
Old 08-14-06, 04:34 PM
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I was surprised by how good 'Inside Man' was when I saw it after reading the luke-warm review on DVD Talk.

Contrary to the mess I expected, I instead found a movie that is stylish, has an intricate plot (without being convoluted), with enough twists to keep it interesting.

The performances by the central actors were also great. Denzel Washington especially is in high gear and is a delight to watch. He clearly enjoyed this role.

All in all, one of the best I've seen this year - and up there with Spike Lee's best.
Old 08-14-06, 04:45 PM
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This is one of my favorites of this year. It's not a perfect movie and it has its flaws (as does Do the Right Thing, one of my all-time favorite movies). I think my problem with the review is that there seemed to be a disconnect between the review and the rating. After reading the review, I expected a 'Rent It' or a 'Skip It'... that it is recommended with so much negativity left me wondering.
Old 08-14-06, 06:14 PM
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I would recommend Inside Man for a rental but not a purchase, repeat viewing of this highly overrated movie is unlikely. Bank robbery movies are nothing new and some of the stuff going on Inside Man is just silly, it could be considered a comedy. The movie constantly flashes forward to show the cop interviewing hostages to determine who were an inside part of the heist, this tips off the outcome and quickly becomes tiresome. It canít be a Spike Lee movie without questions of race and class, Lee takes a hard shot at the Jews with his stereotype of the Jewish Banker
Old 08-14-06, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Crowbar
It canít be a Spike Lee movie without questions of race and class, Lee takes a hard shot at the Jews with his stereotype of the Jewish Banker
Ummmm.. the banker was a
Spoiler:
Nazi.
Old 08-14-06, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Crowbar
Lee takes a hard shot at the Jews with his stereotype of the Jewish Banker


Did you even see the movie? Or were you not paying attention?
Old 08-14-06, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
I think my problem with the review is that there seemed to be a disconnect between the review and the rating. After reading the review, I expected a 'Rent It' or a 'Skip It'... that it is recommended with so much negativity left me wondering.
Technically accomplished ... check. Dynamite cast given a few moments to shine ... check. Involving plot that falls apart under its own weight ... check. As I outlined in my review, the acting and the narrative (to a point) merit a recommendation - in my mind, encouraging only a rental would be a little too harsh for a film that I did enjoy in places. As I said previously, (and I quote): "I understand the implications of the ending, but I just feel that Lee could've gotten there faster. I don't say anywhere ... that it's a total wash and please skip it, but rather that the cast is fantastic and are ultimately let down by both Lee and Gewirtz's screenplay."
Old 08-14-06, 10:41 PM
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Best Blind buy to date for me. It kept me guessing what was gonna happen the whole movie. Normaly you can tell whats going to happen next in a movie but this is not one of those. I Highly recomend it.
Old 08-15-06, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by The Bus


Did you even see the movie? Or were you not paying attention?
I must have missed something when I lost interest of the movie after the first 30 minutes, I was kinda baked that night. There was a menorah on the wall of the bank owners office which lead me to believe he was Jew, I thought he was trying to hide the fact he sold out his own race for monitory gain. My bad for not paying attention.

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