Inside Man

 
Smart heist movie is not for children.
  • Review Date: August 7, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 129 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Bank robbers, angry cops, corrupt executives: All misbehave, cheat, and lie.

Violence

Explosions (inside bank); a man is beaten behind a door (shadows visible and grunts audible), and he emerges bruised and bloody; gunshots, a seeming (and disturbing) execution of a character with a bag over his head.

Sex

References to women's breasts (plus some jokes about men's tendency to focus on breasts); sexual language and discussion of sexual activity; hostages are upset when they're forced to strip (we see them looking uncomfortable in underwear).

Language

Lots of profanity. Several instances of the n-word (including a video game called "Kill Dat N---a"); over 50 uses of f-word; slang for genitals.

Consumerism

iPods.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking (cigarettes and cigars).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film includes extreme language (frequent "f--k"s and other profanity, including the "N" word). The robbers take the bank with smoke bombs, dress in masks and painters' coveralls, and look ominous throughout; hostages are frightened, with some crying and others acting tough. The film includes sexual language. Characters display and discuss racism (most often, anti-Arab and anti-black). Characters smoke cigarettes and cigars. One crucial plot point involves a character making money by working with Nazis during WWII.

What's the story?

Set in New York City, INSIDE MAN centers on "the perfect bank robbery" planned by Dalton Russell (Clive Owen). Clad in painters' uniforms and masks, Dalton's team enters the bank at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway, disables the surveillance cameras, and takes all the customers, workers, and security guards hostage. By the time detectives Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) and his partner Mitch (Chiwetel Ejiofor) arrive, the crime scene is taped off, a mini-city populated by shooters and uniforms, hulking vans and vocal gawkers. Inside the bank, the robbers dress the hostages like themselves, move them from room to room so they can't get to know one another, and dig up a wall in the storage room. Keith has to make nice with turf-protecting Emergency Services Unit Captain Darius (Willem Dafoe), still mad at him for some case they worked years ago. As time ticks, bank board chairman Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer) sends an excruciatingly intelligent fixer, Madeline White (Jodie Foster), who knows how to reach the chief robber in charge. And yet, she can't quite solve this puzzle, which involves a special personal safe deposit box inside the bank.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Tense, showy, and shrewd, Inside Man is Spike Lee's most accessible film, but that's not what makes it brainy or galvanizing. Indeed, its cleverest moments involve odd and telling details: The credits sequence use of "Chaiyya Chaiyya," the white-guy who recognizes but cannot translate Albanian language, and perhaps most energetically, the Sikh who resents being profiled as "Arab."

While the heisty plot includes the sorts of cunning turns familiar since Die Hard, its more compelling aspect is its New Yorkness. The city is everywhere in the film, outside and inside, but mostly, it's the incisive focus, impetus, and consequence. In between the figuring and plotting, the film flash-forwards to exit interviews with the hostage as Mitch and Keith press them to confess their collaboration. This array -- anxious, audacious, arrogant -- is clearly made up for "New York" embodiments, persevering, traumatized, post-9/11. Competing traumas, leveling oppressions, comparable resiliences. It's definitely New York.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the way the film uses the generic bank robbery plot to evoke more profound social and political issues, like racism, corruption, ambition, and post-9/11 fears about surveillance and terrorism. How do Keith and the robber, Dalton, come to understand each other's motives and goals? How does the movie compare the moral positions of upper-crusty characters (who own or run the bank) and "regular folks," who bank or work at the institution?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 24, 2006
DVD release date:August 8, 2006
Cast:Clive Owen, Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster
Director:Spike Lee
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:129 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and some violent images

This review of Inside Man was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byJiles April 9, 2008
age 0+
 
This movie was really great! I thought it would just be ok but i was suprised. The actors Clive Owen and Denzel Washington do an exceedingly execptional job of acting and Jodie Foster does really well. This heist movie is one of a kind and I think kids my age would like it. But it's definately not for the youngsters (12 and under)!
Teen, 14 years old Written byjcdizz April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

One of the Smrtest Movies Ever

This movie is not as bad as it may seem. This movie is smart and provokes critical thinking. I have to agree that the language is a pretty important issue, there is an F--- word from the beginning when Clive Owen robs the bank to the end when Denzel Washington speaks with his partner. Violence MAY be an issue with some parents, but its a bank robbery, what do you expect? Both of these are nothing children would see or hear otherwise. however, i not only aprrove, but recommend this movie for those my age. Of course, i have written in other reviews, its not about your age, but your mindset. This would be okay for an eight year old IF he were mature enough for it. So yes, for those who are mature at mind.
Teen, 14 years old Written bysimonakg August 14, 2014
age 12+
 

16 YEARS? NOT GONNA WORK!

This is my favourite movie. A thriller by Spike Lee, starring my favourite actor, Denzel Washington. I saw it at school when I was in 6th grade, when I was about 11 years old. It is a great movie. Very exciting. I bought the movie, and since, I've watched it plenty of times, just to show most of my friends and family it. But you need to stay away from phones and anything else, that distracts you. There are many details. The movie is great, and there is no sex, actual death, violence (only sounds of a man being beaten at one point, but it's not so bad), drugs, and almost no swearing. The only thing that you need to be careful about is whether it could scare your child. Though, I'm 99% sure this innocent thriller doesn't scare anyone. There is nothing scary about it. It's just exciting. Good movie, for anyone who is 12 or older. Oh, and also; it's rated 11+ here in Denmark, and to be honest, I think that's fair, but I'm sticking to 12, to make everyone happy. ;-)

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