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March 27, 2006

Inside Man

L_120938_0454848_8313c0b3 Since bankrupting his film production company with dreadful movies like "Bamboozled" and "He Hate Me" Spike Lee now works as a Hollywood gun-for-hire creating a blasé and muddy suspense police drama. Clive Owen plays Dalton Russell a bank robbing mastermind who holds 50 New Yorkers hostage in an enormous downtown bank owned by former Nazi profiteer Arthur Case (well played by Christopher Plummer). Denzel Washington plays hostage negotiator Detective Keith Frazier assigned to resolve the crisis. Screenwriter Russell Gerwirtz mistakenly emancipates much of the story’s potential suspense by revealing the fate of Dalton’s hostages in early flashback segments. However, it’s Spike Lee who commits the film to utter mediocrity with ballad-tempo music, an equally dragging cadence from the actors and a visual flourish that has Denzel Washington apparently riding a Segway scooter toward the camera in a long dolly shot that comes at the film’s zero hour.

Rated R. 128 mins. (C) (Two Stars)

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