Inside Man

An interesting heist movie that turns on corruption and distrust. When an armed robber (Clive Owen) and his team move in to a bank and take the staff and customers hostage, they promise to kill anyone who gives them trouble. Someone does and they show mercy, suggesting there’s something different about this gang. They also show extreme confidence and cleverness in their work, quickly camouflaging themselves among the hostages by dressing everyone as they are — in hooded jumpsuits with covered faces.

A detective (Denzel Washington) under investigation for corruption is given the case and he’s only let close to it because it’s someone else’s day off. He’s smart enough to see something else is going with this heist, but the film is pieced together out of order, inter-cutting the robbery, siege and hostage taking with the aftermath interrogation of the hostages – none of whom appear to be beyond suspicion, so we know from early on that the robber gets away with it, at least initially.

The questions are: how does he get away with it? Will there be a surprise, last minute capture? What is the real target of the robbery?

The nature of film gets rid of the good/bad binary, after all the detective is under investigation and despite his protests of innocence, may well be guilty. The hostages and robbers are indistinguishable from each other – who among them is protesting false innocence? Even the owner of the bank interferes with the siege and investigation in order to insure certain secrets in his safe deposit box never come to light. Perhaps the robber is pursuing some strange form of justice?

Overall a refreshing and satisfying take on the heist genre.