December 13th, 2014: Inside Man (2006)


Cast and Crew: Spike Lee (Director); Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor

What It’s About: A police detective and hostage negotiator, Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington), tries to unravel a bizarre hostage situation at a New York bank.  He faces off against Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), the impenetrable, uncanny chief robber, who may have plotted the crime for some reason other than lucre, and Madeleine White (Jodie Foster), a hard-charging negotiator hired by the bank’s founder (Christopher Plummer).  The plot unfolds in such a way that the audience isn’t always aware of everything that’s happening, leaving some excitement for the big reveal.  Lest there be spoilers, I’m not going to say much more — but it’s a damn good movie, so make sure you go watch it if you didn’t catch it in the theaters.

Why Watch it Today?: In possibly his most famous role, as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer played a man of high ideals and good humor.  Today is Plummer’s 85th birthday, and I’m honoring the versatility of his acting skills by recommending a film in which his somewhat sinister character has neither high ideals nor good humor.  Frazier and Russell, between them, have plenty of those.  Plummer gives us the complexity of human experience, without which this couldn’t really be a Spike Lee film.

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