Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Det. Frazier: What’s this?
Off. Berk: It’s a digital recorder. Click it and it’ll record for half an hour.
Det. Frazier: James Bond s***!
Off. Berk: You can get ’em on Amazon…
A team of robbers barricade themselves in a bank with hostages. Detective Keith Frazier (Washington) and his partner, Bill Mitchell (Ejiofor), are in charge of the scene. Frazier must figure out what the robbers are up to before their threats to kill hostages come true. Meanwhile, the owner of the bank, Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer), hires Madeleine White (Foster) to make sure a particularly valuable possession hidden away in the bank does not see the light of day because of this robbery.
It’s a bank heist movie…with a twist! This movie tries to be tricky and clever, and in some instances it succeeds. At other times, it is very predictable. For a lot of the movie, I felt like I was a step ahead of the detectives, and I was wondering why they wouldn’t figure out what was going on sooner. It did manage to throw a couple of little curve balls my way, but nothing too shocking.
I did like the overall idea of the movie, but I wish they could have kept things a little more hidden so that the audience could be more surprised as events unfolded. I also wish that the director, Spike Lee, hadn’t been so heavy handed with the race, civil rights, and violence messages. It seemed like enough to show that the cops treated the Sikh hostage like he might be one of the bad guys or that he might have a bomb when really he was just a hostage being released. We didn’t need to see an extended conversation about it all. Those kinds of moments derailed the movie a little bit.
One directorial choice that I did like was the jumps ahead in time to the two detectives interviewing the hostages. These short segments were inserted at various times to add humor and raise or lower suspicion about which of the supposed hostages might actually have been involved in the heist.
Washington and Ejiofor are good together, even though Denzel is playing a character similar to one he’s played multiple times before. Meanwhile, Clive Owen isn’t really given much to do with his role. He has his face covered for most of the movie anyway.
This was a reasonably enjoyable movie to watch, but its predictability and lack of energy made it fairly forgettable. It’s well made and well acted, but the script and story just didn’t seem to be worthy of the rest of the talent involved.
Pizzas are more easily bugged (hidden listening device) than sandwiches.
10 – 2.2 for predictability and lack of energy – .7 for the heavy handed messages – .4 for some underdeveloped characters = 6.7