One man seems to have everyone eating out of his hand as he executes the perfect heist and hostage situation. Claiming that he will simply walk out the front door, he continues to toy with the police department at every turn, in particular Detective Keith Frazier. The detective has his own issues he needs to tackle with, including his own corruption charges and the bigotry of the officers around him. As Dalton Russell seems to be letting the detective get too close, he still maintains a nearly flawless performance to expose some hidden information kept in the bank vault and snag a large fortune of diamonds from the bank owner’s deposit box.
Starring: Denzel Washington (Detective Keith Frazier), Clive Owen (Dalton Russell), Jodie Foster (Madeleine White), Christopher Plummer (Arthur Case), Willem Dafoe (Captain John Darius), Kim Director (Stevie), James Ransone (Steve-O), Carlos Andres Gomez (Steve), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Detective Bill Mitchell)
Denzel Washington continues his streak of great films with another great performance as the conflicted detective. On the one hand, he has a personality to read people and connect well with them. On the other, he struggles with the corruption claims, though the film does a poor job of building more on that storyline. Clive Owen has only a few moments of stress but exhibits an extremely confident criminal who is working to achieve multiple objectives. Jodie Foster is supposed to play a talented specialist who can achieve things that most cannot, but her character falls short of making any sort of impact and she just comes off as uptight. Christopher Plummer makes a few short appearances as the bank’s manager and a wealthy businessman, and overall maintains a strong will toward taking back control in the heist. Willem Dafoe provides the leadership for the police department but also some opposition to the detectives’ more psychological approach to the hostage situation.
Spike Lee and Denzel Washington have partnered in several films, with this being their fourth product. While there are some confusing elements with a bit of jumping around in the story, Lee creates an atmosphere that tries to integrate response with challenge. Frazier’s ordeal is the clearest struggle with the inclusion of his corruption charges, but there also does not seem to be a great push to define the significance of the trouble or his actual involvement in the claims. Captain John Darius makes a strong push to save the hostages but struggles to adapt to less physical methods. Besides the response-challenge arrangement, he develops some intriguing elements of the heist that are just entertaining to watch. The painter’s suits and reverse bugging technique prevent the police from ever having a handle on the situation. Lee creates a situation where Russell allows Frazier to get extremely close but still maintains a safe distance to avoid capture. Those served as the more entertaining elements of the film.
This was overall a good movie but left some of the side stories incomplete and underdeveloped. Not a bad showing for their fourth partnership.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5