In a era of big budget remakes and sequels, (can you say Rocky 6?) Spike Lee's new joint, Inside Man, is a welcome puff of fresh air. After a daring daylight bank heist turns into a hostage situation, the NYPD calls in negotiator Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) to save the day. Frazier however, soon finds out that he is merely a pawn in an elaborate scheme heading by the cunning bank robber Dalton Russell (Clive Owen) to execute the "perfect" bank heist. As the film unfolds, the real depth and magnitude of the plot is revealed to be more then just a simple bank heist, when a mysterious political strong-arm (Jodie Foster), adds an unseen twist that had implications beyond a classic stick-up. It's the originality in the story, and the unexpected twists and turns that will keep the audience genuinely puzzled till the very end.
Woven into the story of the bank heist is Lee's trademark underlined racial, social and political messages. From the not-so-random security checks of Arabs, to racism in the police department, to video games corrupting the minds of our youth, Lee seamlessly, and often comedically, integrated his "do the right thing" message into a genuinely intelligent action drama. Inside Man, manages to deliver a intelligent thriller where literally everyone is a suspect, without getting too bogged down in Lee's often public service announcement underlined messages.