The Man Inside Me

I saw Inside Man this weekend and I never would have guessed I would care about a film in which Clive Owen’s face was obscured by a large mask.

Turns out even just the outline of his luscious lips is good enough.

It’s a good film, even though I thought it was going to end five times before it actually did—a self-conscious throwback to the crime/noir style of filmmaking of another era. Denzel does his thing, Clive Owen does his hulky thing, and Jodie Foster does her I’m-the-cutest-bitch-ever thing. No real surprises here. It’s not a film that you need to puzzle out, although you can’t help but draw conclusions as it goes.

The film benefits from the interest generated by watching the bank robbery plan unfold (sort of slowly) and by the vivid cast of nobodies who play the hostages. It’s hard to write full-color nobodies, but the film manages to make them compelling characters.

It’s probably the best, most evenly-toned Spike Lee film I’ve seen. What’s nice is Lee peppers the film with several moments of commentary on racism. For Lee, I thought these moments were a bit subdued, but they were still effective in demonstrating how everybody’s got it out for somebody. “Everybody thinks I’m an Arab,” complains one Sikh hostage. He goes on to voice his frustration with American racism. “But I bet you can still get a cab,” Denzel counters. “Yeah, I guess that’s one of the perks,” the Sikh man responds.

On another note, I couldn’t help but think of Arrested Development’s episode where Tobias Funke talks about his only successful book, which was “very popular at gay bookstores around the country”:

I’m guessing Inside Men will be hitting the racks of your local gay porn shop before the year is out. Should be pretty hot.

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