Robbery banks on big stars

our men walk into a bank dressed in painters outfits.

No, this isn’t the start of a joke, but the start of the latest film from Spike Lee, with an all-star cast of Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, Clive Owen, Willem Dafoe and Christopher Plummer.

Bank-heist ringleader Dalton Russell (Owen) leads his team to take everyone in the building hostage, but it is unknown what the robbers really want.

Russell is obviously very smart, and has a plan for just about everything.

Getting everyone to wear the same worker’s outfit so the police couldn’t tell who was a part of the robbery or who was a hostage seemed like a pretty good idea to me.

Hostage-negotiators Detectives Keith Frazier (Washington) and Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are called in to handle the situation, but they just can’t seem to make progress.

Things get downright frustrating for the negotiators, and in comes the maybe bad guy, maybe good guy, but definitely very confident Madeline White (Foster), who is sent to the bank by its founder, Arthur Case (Plummer).

Case has something of value locked up in the bank, and doesn’t want anyone to know about it. White is neither cop nor criminal, but definitely corrupt, as she gets herself into the bank to negotiate with Russell.

It’s been said that “Inside Man” pays homage to Sidney Lumet’s 1975 robbery flick “Dog Day Afternoon” starring Al Pacino.

Washington’s character even refers to it in the movie. Admittedly, I hadn’t seen “Dog Day,” so I couldn’t tell you how similar the two flicks are.

So deliciously good are the actors in their roles.

That’s the biggest thing for me when I watch movies, believability.

Do I believe these actors can pull off their roles? Do I believe Washington as a negotiator? Do I believe Foster as a straight-talking, I-get-what-I-want, Madison-Avenue woman? Do I believe Owen to be a smart thief? Yes, I do.

They aren’t award-winning actors for nothing.

Moviegoers will recall Clive Owen most recently from “Sin City” and “Derailed,” but most fans tapped into him when he starred in “Closer.” His role as Larry got him his first Academy Award nomination.

He’s just good to watch, he doesn’t even have to say anything.

He’s got the deep voice, and acts with such intensity.

Foster and Washington need no introductions. They’ve garnered enough Academy Award nominations combined to have one for each member of the cast.

But keep in mind that it’s not just an extraordinary cast.

The director is the accomplished Spike Lee, who gave us Academy Award-nominated “Do The Right Thing,” and “4 Little Girls,” not to mention “Malcolm X” starring, who else, Denzel Washington. The producer is Brian Grazer, who won an Academy Award for “A Beautiful Mind,” and also gave us the thriller “Flightplan.” Anyone up for a game of Six Degrees? All in all, “Inside Man” should make for a good weekend movie to check out, if for anything, the performance and the thrill of figuring out which direction the robbery is going.

The film opens at the Kukui Grove Cinemas in Lihu‘e. Check out local listings throughout the week in The Garden Island.

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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