Inside Man 2006

Critics score:
86 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: 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. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Inside Man is a potboiler, but an intriguing one; perhaps Lee should go Hollywood more often. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: This one's a Spike-for-hire affair, a case of a flashy director juicing up a first-time screenwriter's efforts. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: [A] wily thriller, which revitalizes a familiar premise by turning it inside out. Read more

Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle: Inside Man has an abundance of riches. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: It's very satisfying. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 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. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: 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. Read more

Randy Cordova, Arizona Republic: The film grabs you from the beginning and never lets go. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: 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. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: 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. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: 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. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: 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. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: At just over two hours, Inside Man earns every minute of our tense curiosity. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Inside Man brings Lee back into the mainstream while still letting him have some fun, and he passes that fun on to the audience. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: 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. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: 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. Read more

Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News: Viewers may be surprised at the smoothness with which the frequently bombastic Spike Lee navigates the mainstream. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: If Inside Man isn't the best movie Lee has done, it's probably the most purely exciting and enjoyable. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: 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. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: 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. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The normally subversive Spike Lee takes a rare genial tack. Read more

Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger: Inside Man is the sort of movie that makes you think. The big star heist thriller is coiled in tricky turns of plot. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: 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. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: 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. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: It's a leisurely stroll through the caper genre, with twists aplenty. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Spike Lee's latest joint is a workmanlike thriller that provides solid performances; a mixture of comedy, tension, and drama; and an engaging storyline. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: 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. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, With Inside Man -- an ostensibly straightforward, old-fashioned heist movie -- Spike Lee brings together the old New York and the new. Read more

Grady Hendrix, Slate: Inside Man is adult, contemporary, and completely relaxed. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Inside Man marries some ingenious caper ideas to Lee's superb feel for ethnic politics. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: 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. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: Inside Man is an exercise in showy, cynical hollowness. Read more

Time Out: A slick, kinetic and relatively straightforward -- which is to say enjoyably twisty-turny -- tranche of cat-and-mouse procedural. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Exceptionally well written with clever twists and witty dialogue by first-time screenwriter Russell Gewirtz, Inside Man is adroitly executed by director Spike Lee. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: 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. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: This enjoyable exercise in popcorn pyrotechnics demonstrates that Lee can be relied on to attack the cliches set before him with gusto. Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: 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. Read more