Thursday, November 13, 2008

Follow the ring

You'll be happy to know that I managed to tear myself away from the Xbox 360 long enough to watch a movie. It was pretty easy after I finished Fable 2 for the third time...and own everything in it...there really isn't that much left to do besides, you know, start over again. And, let's be honest, I need something to do this weekend.

I was in a hotel a couple weeks ago watching House or Law & Order or Monk or SOMETHING on USA, and they kept showing commercials for Inside Man. Now, this isn't the type of movie I would go out of my way to see. I mean, I liked Denzel Washington enough in Glory and Much Ado About Nothing, though Virtuosity is almost certainly my favorite of his movies. He doesn't do a lot of fighting monsters from outer space though, so I don't see his movies. Same with Spike Lee, I saw Do The Right Thing as part of a film class in college, and I liked it enough, but he doesn't make a lot of movies about monsters attacking cities, so I don't watch his movies. In fact, if it weren't for one person, I would never have put Inside Man on my Netflix queue...Clive Owen. I think he is one of the most intersting actors out there right now, and I just can't see enough movies with him in them. If you tell me that Clive Owen is in a movie, the odds of me seeing that movie increase by at least 46%. As an added bonus, it also had Serenity's Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Inside Man is a heist movie. It's a movie about a bank robbery, and it gets right down to it. Our bank robbers are in the bank and have it locked down in the first chapter of the DVD. Time to bring in the police. Since the normal hostage negotiator is on vay-kay, it's up to Denzel to go and talk the robbers down. Meanwhile, the bank owner has something, it's unknown what, in a safe deposit box that he wants to see stay there, so he hires a woman (played by Jodie Foster) to make sure it stays hidden.

This is one of those clever heist movies though, so you never really know what it is that they're after or how they plan to get away with it. Only that, in the character's words:

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 Where could most readily be described as a prison cell. But there's a vast difference between being stuck in a tiny cell and being in prison. The What is easy: recently I planned and set in motion events to execute the perfect bank robbery. That's also the When. As for the Why: beyond the obvious financial motivation, it's exceedingly simple... because I can. Which leaves us only with the How; and therein, as the Bard would tell us, lies the rub.

And, at the end, like when Verbal starts walking without the limp, it all sorts of hits you. He really did tell you everything in that opening paragraph. Like I said, this is a clever movie. Is it as clever as the previously mentioned Usual Suspects? No. Of course not.  Is it an interesting movie though? Well, hell yes. Despite being fairly straight forward, you're constatly wondering, how is this going to work? What ARE they trying to do? And they're interesting enough questions to really keep you riveted.The only thing I would have liked to have known more about is the planning. How it came together. Where did the idea for the hiest come from? In that regard, the ending is a little unfullfilling, but without giving anything away, it works. Now, I can get back to the things that really playing Fable some more...


Fletch said...

I almost feel bad for saying it because it's really not FANtastics, but Inside Man is probably the 2nd or 3rd best heist flick of the last 10 years (Ocean's, Out of Sight). Just a solid drama that's put together right and features top-notch acting.

Makes it seem so easy.