Inside Man Reviews

Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 29, 2008
[A] wily thriller, which revitalizes a familiar premise by turning it inside out.
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David Ansen
Newsweek
November 1, 2007
As unexpected as some of its plot twists is the fact that this unapologetic genre movie was directed by Spike Lee, who has never sold himself as Mr. Entertainment. But here it is, a Spike Lee joint that's downright fun.
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Time Out
June 24, 2006
A slick, kinetic and relatively straightforward -- which is to say enjoyably twisty-turny -- tranche of cat-and-mouse procedural.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
April 5, 2006
I gloried in the sheer spectacle of Jodie Foster as Madeline White, an exquisitely groomed, fearlessly feline fixer striding on her high heels and her high horse into one supposedly perilous situation after another.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
March 28, 2006
It's very satisfying.
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
March 24, 2006
Even past the midway point, it's all working -- it's taut, it's funny, it's trenchant, it's stylish. And then it isn't.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Ruthe Stein
San Francisco Chronicle
March 24, 2006
Inside Man has an abundance of riches.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
March 24, 2006
Inside Man is a potboiler, but an intriguing one; perhaps Lee should go Hollywood more often.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
March 24, 2006
Inside Man is an exercise in showy, cynical hollowness.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
March 24, 2006
Exceptionally well written with clever twists and witty dialogue by first-time screenwriter Russell Gewirtz, Inside Man is adroitly executed by director Spike Lee.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 24, 2006
Intercutting post-robbery interrogation scenes with the action at hand, makes Inside Man a substantial and satisfying affair.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
March 24, 2006
It's a leisurely stroll through the caper genre, with twists aplenty.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
March 24, 2006
Lee seems less interested in scoring easy sociological points than ratcheting up the stakes of Gewirtz's cunning heist scenario, which offers little in the way of wiggle room for latecomers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
March 24, 2006
Inside Man is the sort of movie that makes you think. The big star heist thriller is coiled in tricky turns of plot.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
March 24, 2006
Inside Man, a crackling, twisty thriller about a bank heist that shows he [Spike Lee] can make an expensive, mainstream movie that's every bit as well-crafted as the personal, arty films to which he has devoted most of his career.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
March 24, 2006
Lee takes the usual potshots at this stewpot of race, power and politics. Only here it's effective as part of the story, as opposed to when it's wielded like a tire iron in the context of a polemic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
March 24, 2006
Unexpectedly funny, leisurely paced and oblivious to the demands of its genre, Inside Man has a loose, playful vibe that's at odds with its grave life-and-death scenario.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
March 24, 2006
Inside Man may be a genre flick, but its direction is certifiably Lee -- sprinkled with trademark themes and visual cues, including his specialty, the strapped-to-a-factory-belt dolly shot.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
March 24, 2006
Inside Man brings Lee back into the mainstream while still letting him have some fun, and he passes that fun on to the audience.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
March 24, 2006
Inside Man gives us back the stuff that once made Lee's movies entertaining: the snappy, sassy dialogue, the hip attitude, the obvious insight into the racial divide.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
March 24, 2006
Lee has directed Inside Man, a thriller with a big-league cast, a New York mind-set and some of the best storytelling the director has done to date.
| Original Score: B+
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
March 24, 2006
At just over two hours, Inside Man earns every minute of our tense curiosity.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
March 24, 2006
The basic story is elemental, but because Lee and Gewirtz invest it with grit, comedy, and a ton of New York ethnic personality, it's fresh anyway.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
March 23, 2006
With juicy supporting roles for Chiwetel Ejiofor and Willem Dafoe as Washington's fellow officers, the film works best when the characters are just sitting back and shooting the breeze.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
March 23, 2006
With Inside Man -- an ostensibly straightforward, old-fashioned heist movie -- Spike Lee brings together the old New York and the new.
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
March 23, 2006
Inside Man is a deft and satisfying entertainment, an elegant, expertly acted puzzler that is just off-base and out-of-the-ordinary enough to keep us consistently involved.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Randy Cordova
Arizona Republic
March 23, 2006
The film grabs you from the beginning and never lets go.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 23, 2006
Inside Man marries some ingenious caper ideas to Lee's superb feel for ethnic politics.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
March 23, 2006
Inside Man is adult, contemporary, and completely relaxed.
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
March 23, 2006
Inside Man, directed by Spike Lee, works because it takes a familiar setup a Wall Street bank heist that mutates into a hostage crisis and twists it ever so slightly.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
March 23, 2006
Here is a thriller that's curiously reluctant to get to the payoff, and when it does, we see why: We can't accept the motive and method of the bank robbery, we can't believe in one character and can't understand another.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
March 23, 2006
This one's a Spike-for-hire affair, a case of a flashy director juicing up a first-time screenwriter's efforts.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
March 23, 2006
Inside Man, which was scripted by Russell Gewirtz, is not a model of storytelling, even though it is somewhat redeemed by its fresh take and trick ending.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
March 23, 2006
The normally subversive Spike Lee takes a rare genial tack.
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
March 23, 2006
A deft, tense, pure thriller, the movie has great star turns and is brilliantly directed, but it began as an extremely well-crated screenplay by Russell Gewirtz.
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
March 23, 2006
The geometric precision with which this clever puzzle is laid out produces a picture whose sum exceeds its sometimes wayward parts.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
March 23, 2006
Viewers may be surprised at the smoothness with which the frequently bombastic Spike Lee navigates the mainstream.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
March 23, 2006
Nobody's on automatic here, least of all the director, who's probably delivered the most impersonal -- but smoothly Hollywood-style professional -- movie of his career.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
March 23, 2006
If Inside Man isn't the best movie Lee has done, it's probably the most purely exciting and enjoyable.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
March 23, 2006
Spike Lee's latest joint is a workmanlike thriller that provides solid performances; a mixture of comedy, tension, and drama; and an engaging storyline.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
March 22, 2006
In the age of low-budget independent grab-a-flicks, this high-powered waste of time proves what superior talents have to do now to collect an occasional big-studio Hollywood paycheck.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
March 22, 2006
Inside Man is a hybrid of studio action pic and Spike Lee joint. Or else it's a cross between a 2006 Spike Lee joint and a 1970s-style movie indictment of urban unease.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
March 21, 2006
This enjoyable exercise in popcorn pyrotechnics demonstrates that Lee can be relied on to attack the clichés set before him with gusto.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
March 21, 2006
Washington has the kind of star quality other actors would die for: unfakeable cool.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
March 20, 2006
The more it sags as a thriller, the more it jabs and jangles as a study of racial abrasion.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
March 20, 2006
A flashy cast, clever script and vibrant showcasing of New York City as the ultimate melting pot are strong plusses for Spike Lee's most mainstream studio venture.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
March 17, 2006
This is the mother lode all action/suspense directors search for and Lee, who usually doesn't work in that genre, has hit it.