Spike Lee goes big budget, a bank heist that isn’t, Denzel on form, Jodie Foster playing it straight and sassy, and Clive Owen talks quietly throughout.
The trailers make this look like a thriller, and it is to an extent, the plot slowly reveals itself with some nice twists that keep you guessing although, like the best movies, the hints are all there whilst you watch.
A smart bank heist movie then, except it isn’t. Spike Lee makes sure that the pacing isn’t too fast, and throws in some nice moments —the moment when a Hindu is grabbed by the police and they exclaim “Fuck, it’s an Arab!” gives us a nice microcosm of current US sentiment— but you never feel like you are watching a ‘smart’ movie as it pulls you along without patronising, feeding you info or bemusing you to the point of distraction.
However this isn’t as good a movie as it could’ve been. It’s no Usual Suspects despite the possibilities offered by the script, but that’s about the only criticism. Well directed, and with all the main characters handling their roles without complication, the movie could have been a little faster but all in all it’s very watchable. Probably best served as an introduction to Spike Lee movies —although I’d suggest 25th Hour as a far superior starting point— it’s worth a watch.
And you’ll note how I managed to avoid mentioning how downright sexy Ms. Foster looks..