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Inside Man

Inside Man
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Spike Lee
Produced by Brian Grazer
Written by Russell Gewirtz
Starring Denzel Washington
Clive Owen
Jodie Foster
Christopher Plummer
Willem Dafoe
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography Matthew Libatique
Edited by Barry Alexander Brown
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • March 20, 2006 (2006-03-20) (New York)
  • March 24, 2006 (2006-03-24) (North America)
Running time
129 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $45 million[1]
Box office $184.4 million[1]

Inside Man is a 2006 American crime thriller film directed by Spike Lee, and written by Russell Gewirtz. The film centers on an elaborate bank heist on Wall Street over a 24-hour period. It stars Denzel Washington as Detective Keith Frazier, the NYPD's hostage negotiator; Clive Owen as Dalton Russell, the mastermind who orchestrates the heist; and Jodie Foster as Madeleine White, a Manhattan power broker who becomes involved at the request of the bank's founder, Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer), to keep something in his own personal safe deposit box protected from the robbers. Inside Man marks the fourth film collaboration between Washington and Lee.

Gewirtz spent five years developing the film's premise before working on his first original screenplay. After he completed the script in 2002, Imagine Entertainment purchased it to be made by Universal Studios, with Imagine co-founder Ron Howard attached to direct. After Howard stepped down, his Imagine partner Brian Grazer began looking for a new director to helm the project. After Menno Meyjes turned down the chance to direct, Grazer hired Lee to helm the film. Principal photography for Inside Man began in June 2005 and concluded in August of that year; filming took place on location in New York City. The film premiered in New York on March 20, 2006 before being released in North America on March 24, 2006. Upon release, Inside Man received a generally positive critical response and was a commercial success, grossing over $184 million worldwide.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Development 3.1
    • Filming 3.2
      • Principal photography 3.2.1
      • Design 3.2.2
      • Cinematography 3.2.3
    • Effects 3.3
      • Video game sequence 3.3.1
    • Music 3.4
  • Release 4
    • Box office 4.1
    • Critical reception 4.2
  • Cancelled sequel 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), seated in what appears to be a jail cell, opens the film with a prologue about having carried out the "perfect robbery". A van is driving from Brooklyn to the Wall Street area. Inside is a team of masked robbers, dressed as painters, who call each other by variants of the name "Steve" (i.e. Steve, Stevie, Stevo). They seize control of a Manhattan bank and take the employees and patrons hostage. They divide the hostages into groups and hold them in different rooms, forcing them to strip and don painters' clothes identical to their own. The robbers rotate the hostages between various rooms and occasionally insert themselves covertly into the groups, while also taking turns working on an unspecified project involving demolishing the floor in one of the bank's storage rooms.

Police surround the bank and detectives Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) and Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) take charge of the negotiations. Russell, the leader of the robbers, demands food. The police supply pizzas whose boxes include listening devices; these pick up a language which the police finally identify as Albanian. However, they discovered that the conversations are just very old propaganda recordings of the deceased Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoxha; it becomes clear that the robbers anticipated surveillance.

After being informed of the robbery in progress, Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer), the chairman of the board of directors and founder of the bank, hires "fixer" Madeleine White (Jodie Foster) to try to protect the contents of his safe deposit box within the bank. White, with assistance from the Mayor of New York City who owes her a favour, arranges a conversation with Russell, who allows her to enter the bank and inspect the contents of the box, which include documents from Nazi Germany. Russell implies that Case started his bank with money that he received from the Nazis for unspecified services, resulting in the deaths of many Jewish people during World War II. White tells Russell that Case will pay him a substantial sum to destroy the contents of the box. She claims she can arrange a minimal jail sentence as Russell and his team have not yet stolen anything or hurt or killed anyone; Russell declines her offers. When she asks how he intends to leave the bank, he tells her "right through the front door".

Frazier demands to inspect the hostages before allowing the robbers to leave and Russell takes him on a tour of the bank. As he is being shown out, Frazier attacks Russell, but is restrained by another robber who puts his gun to the back of Frazier's head. Alone with Russell shortly afterwards, the other robber, who turns out to be one of the hostages "interviewed" by Frazier, begins to panic and ask what would have happened had Frazier managed to remove Russell's mask. Russell appears lost in thought. Frazier later explains to his partner that his actions were intended to provoke Russell to establish whether he was capable of killing. The robbers counter this theory by shooting a hostage in the head.

The execution prompts the ESU team into action. They plan to storm the bank and use rubber bullets to knock out the occupants. However, Frazier discovers that the robbers have planted a listening device on the police; aware of the police plans, the robbers detonate smoke grenades and release all the hostages. The police detain everyone, knowing that some of the hostages are members of the gang, but can't distinguish between the two. They interrogate the hostages harshly, questioning their honesty and trying to glean useful information, to no avail. A search of the bank reveals that the robbers' weapons are plastic replicas. They find props for faking the hostage's execution; the blood was red paint. Curiously, no money or valuables appear to have been taken.

With no way to identify the suspects and unsure if a crime has been committed, Frazier's superior, on orders from the mayor, tells him to drop the case but Frazier continues. He searches the bank's records and finds that safe deposit box #392 has never appeared on records since the bank's founding in 1948, and obtains a search warrant to open it. He is then confronted by White, who informs him of Case's Nazi dealings. She attempts to persuade Frazier to drop his investigation, but he refuses, playing a recording of an incriminating conversation that she earlier had with him. White confronts Case who admits to his actions and reveals that the box contained, aside from incriminating paperwork, diamonds and a ring which had belonged to a French Jewish banker and his family who were sent to concentration camps. White is genuinely repulsed by Case but accepts his payment for her mission, even though it was one of her few failures. She tells him that the robber took the incriminating paperwork so that, if he returns with a blackmail demand, Case will have to pay him off.

Russell reappears in the same location in which he gave his opening monologue, with the revelation that he is not in a cell but hiding in a small room behind a fake wall the robbers had constructed inside the bank's supply room. The construction of the hiding area was the real reason for their delaying tactics. Russell emerges a week after the robbery with the contents of Case's safe deposit box, including incriminating documents and several bags of diamonds. On his way out (through the front door just as he told White), he bumps into Frazier, who does not recognize him. Russell goes to a car where his four associates are waiting, and they drive off.

When Frazier opens the safe deposit box, he finds a pack of chewing gum (Russell had asked Frazier if he wanted some gum during one of their meetings in the bank) and a large ring with a note from Russell telling him to "follow the ring". Frazier confronts Case and then goes to see White, who is in a restaurant with some VIPs, including the mayor. Frazier gives her the contact information for the Office of War Crimes Issues at the U.S. State Department, knowing she takes his meaning, although her companions do not. On returning home to his girlfriend, Frazier finds a loose small but valuable diamond in his pocket. He realizes it must have been slipped to him by Russell in the bank after he intentionally bumped into Frazier.


A New York City police detective with a scandal attached to his name who is desperate to make Detective First Grade. He is assigned to negotiate with the ringleader of a Manhattan bank heist. Inside Man marks Washington's fourth collaboration with director Spike Lee. After being approached by Lee to star in the film, he was given the opportunity to play Frazier or Dalton Russell, but turned down the latter, citing concerns over the character's disguise.[2] Washington cited his Broadway performance as Brutus in Julius Caesar as inspiration: "I think it actually helped me prepare for Frazier—Russell [Gewirtz]’s script is heavy with great dialogue. My character does a lot of talking! I kind of thought of Frazier as Brutus goes to Brooklyn. For me, there is a certain rhythm and cadence of New Yorkers, and this gave me the opportunity to play a New York kind of guy who’s going through a lot while dealing with this smart and challenging adversary."[3]:6
The ringleader of the elaborate bank heist. Russell first appears at the beginning of the film, breaking the fourth wall and narrating in medias res of how he will commit the perfect bank robbery. Owen nearly turned down the role; like Washington, he expressed concerns over the character’s disguise of a hood, mask and sunglasses: "To play whole scenes where you’re masked, you've got on sunglasses and you’re wearing a hood is very weird, because a lot of acting is often through intent, and intent is shown through the eyes. To suddenly have that taken away and have this big barrier there was very disarming."[3]:6 Owen, however, accepted the role after further discussing the part with Lee.[3]:7 The script was also revised to include scenes in which Owen's face could be shown.[4]
A Manhattan power broker who is hired to act as a "fixer" in response to the bank heist. Foster saw Inside Man as an opportunity to collaborate with Lee: "Spike is somebody who always fascinated me, and I've loved his movies. I've always wanted to be involved in something he's making. Basically, I never thought I would because it didn't seem like his stories or subject matter were ever going to include me. So, I'm just as excited as I can be."[3]:7 She described her character as a woman with "a relaxed kind of witty quality to her. All the while being very strong, not having to raise her voice very much, not having to yell at anybody — she's got authority. There's seductiveness, a charm, if you will, to her ability to get into people's psyches that's been immensely fun to play. It all went way too fast for me." [3]:7–8
The chairman of the board of directors and founder of the fictional Manhattan Trust bank. In response to the bank heist, Case hires White to prevent a possible career-ending situation. Inside Man is Plummer's second collaboration with Lee and Washington, following 1992's Enron creature' — who runs banks and other world businesses. He has tentacles everywhere, and he's a real son-of-a-bitch who's trying to keep a secret in the process."[3]:8
A veteran captain of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit. Dafoe saw the film as opportunity to work in New York City and collaborate with Lee. He felt that the film was "about the city; it’s about authority; it’s about the mentality of crime; and it’s about power…and payback."[3]:9
A New York City police detective and Frazier's partner. Inside Man is Ejiofor's second film with Lee, after She Hate Me (2004). He first learned of the film after meeting with Lee: "He said he wanted me to read the script and see if I wanted to be involved. Spike asks so many people to come back and work with him in different capacities and as different types of characters."[3]:9

Appearing as Russell's accomplices are:

  • Carlos Andrés Gómez as Steve (as Kenneth Damerjian)
  • Kim Director as Stevie (Valerie Keepsake)
  • James Ransone as Steve-O (Darius Peltz)
  • Bernie Rachelle as Chaim, an older Jewish man who works as a professor at Columbia's Law School, who teaches courses on genocide, slave labor, and war reparation claims, who is part of the plot but was not one of the "Steves", given his age and physique.

Appearing as some of the more notable hostages are Ken Leung as Wing, a Chinese-American distracted by the bosomy woman (played by Samantha Ivers) standing behind him talking loudly on her phone; Gerry Vichi as Howard Kurtz, an elderly hostage suffering chest pains who is quickly released by the robbers; Waris Ahluwalia as Vikram Walia, a Sikh bank clerk whose turban is removed by the cops, which is a religious sacrilege for a Sikh male; Peter Frechette as Peter Hammond, a bank employee whose attempt to hide his cell phone from Russell gets him a genuine beating; Amir Ali Said as Brian Robinson, an 8-year-old boy, who speaks with both Rusell and Frazier and who plays a violent computer game; Ed Onipede Blunt as Ray Robinson, Brian's father; and Marcia Jean Kurtz, who plays an older woman who initially refuses to strip and is forced to do so by Stevie. Kurtz's character is named Miriam Douglas; Kurtz played a hostage named Miriam in Dog Day Afternoon, a bank robbery film, which unlike Inside Man, contained significant violence.[5][6] Lionel Pina, who also appeared in Dog Day Afternoon as a pizza delivery man, appears in Inside Man as a policeman who delivers pizzas at the bank's front doors.[6]

Other roles include Cassandra Freeman as Sylvia, Frazier's girlfriend; Peter Gerety as Captain Coughlin, Frazier and Mitchell's superior; Victor Colicchio as Sergeant Collins, the first officer to respond to the bank robbery; Jason Manuel Olazabal as ESU Officer Hernandez; Al Palagonia as Kevin, a sanitation worker who recognizes the language as Albanian, as he was formerly married to an Albanian-born woman; Florina Petcu as Ilina, the Albanian woman in question who explains what the Albanian recordings really are; Peter Kybart as the Mayor of New York City; Anthony Mangano as an ESU officer; and Daryl Mitchell and Ashlie Atkinson as Mobile Command Officers.[5]


"A script has to make me feel curious, and at no point can I feel complacent. In this story, it was the red herring aspect that I liked—not knowing why things were happening and later having everything revealed in such a satisfying and surprising way. These twists and turns really took the model of a heist film in a new and interesting direction."

—Producer Brian Grazer on the script for Inside Man.[3]:4


Inside Man was Russell Gewirtz's debut film as a screenwriter. A former lawyer, Gewirtz conceived the idea while vacationing in several countries[3]:3 and spent five years developing the film's premise. Inexperienced at screenwriting, Gewirtz studied a number of screenplays before working on his own, which he titled "The Inside Man".[7] His friend, Daniel M. Rosenberg, assisted in developing the script.[8] After it was completed in 2002, the screenplay was passed around several times. Rosenberg shopped the script to a number of Los Angeles agencies,[3]:4 until Universal Studios executives Scott Stuber and Donna Langley persuaded Gewirtz to take the script to Universal and Imagine Entertainment.[8] Imagine purchased Gewirtz's screenplay in 2002, and the project began development at Universal, who retitled the film Inside Man.[7][8]

Imagine co-founder Nazi Germany and diamond ring elements to the script.[4][6] Meyjes was in negotiations to direct the film, but after he stepped down, Grazer saw Inside Man as a long-awaited opportunity to work with Spike Lee,[3]:3 who had already learned of Gewirtz's script.[2] Lee said of the screenplay, "I liked the script and really wanted to do it. Dog Day Afternoon, directed by Sidney Lumet, is one of my favorite films, and this story was a contemporary take on that kind of a movie."[9]

After being cast, Denzel Washington and Chiwetel Ejiofor worked together on studying their lines and understanding their characters. Lee helped prepare his actors by screening a number of heist films including Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and Serpico (1973).[3]:9 Washington, Ejiofor, Willem Dafoe and other actors met and worked with members of the New York City Police Department, who shared their experiences and stories involving civilians and hostage situations.[3]:10


Principal photography

Principal photography for Inside Man took place on location in New York City; filming began in June 2005 and concluded in August after 43 days of filming.[3]:12 [10] Universal Pictures provided a budget of $45 million.[1] By filming in New York, the production was eligible for the city's "Made in NY" incentives program.[11] Interior sets were created at the New York-based Steiner Studios, making Inside Man the second film (after 2005's The Producers) to be shot inside the 15-acre facility.[3]:14 [12]

Location scouting revealed a former Wall Street bank that had been closed down and repurposed as a cigar bar.[13] The building stood in for the fictional Manhattan Trust Bank branch, where the bank heist occurs. "Without a bank, we didn’t have a movie," Lee explained. "But everything ended up going very smoothly. We shot in the heart of Wall Street in a bank that had been closed down. It was like having a back lot in the middle of Wall Street."[3]:13 An office at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House doubled as the office of Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer).[13] Plummer believed that the office's design was essential to his character: "The space literally presents Case’s power, so I found that part of my character was to simply play very cool about everything. You don’t have to push the power, because it’s all around you."[3]:13 The location was also used to film a scene where Frazier confronts Madeleine White (Jodie Foster). The American Tract Society building, located at 150 Nassau Street and Spruce Street, Manhattan, doubled as White's office.[13] Cafe Bravo, a coffee shop located at 76 Beaver Street and Hanover Street, was also used for filming. Other filming locations included Battery Park and the New York Supreme Court House's Appellate Division located at East 25th Street and Madison Avenue, Manhattan.[13]


Wynn Thomas supervised the production design, continuing a 20-year collaboration with Lee. With a former Wall Street bank doubling as the fictional Manhattan Trust branch, Thomas and his team restored the former bank to its 1920s architectural structure. The first floor underwent renovations and was used as the first place where the hostages are held captive by the robbers.[13] The bank's basement was one of several interior sets created at Steiner Studios.[3]:13 [4] Thomas and his team also designed Frazier's apartment, which he described as "very masculine and rich and highly monochromatic in its many hues of brown."[3]:13 He was also tasked with designing a police interrogation room, as well as the interiors of the New York City Police Department and a light-duty Mobile Command vehicle.[3]:13 An actual Mobile Command vehicle, supplied by LDV Group, was used for exteriors.[14]


"[Lee] has a distinct working style; he likes to have the scene play out and get all of his coverage pretty much at the same time. He’s not a single-camera-setup director who gets nine shots per scene and spends all day doing it. He prefers to get the actors blocked and find out where he can place all the cameras so he can get the scene and the performance. Because of this, the actors have to perform in every shot."

—Cinematographer Matthew Libatique describing Lee's directing style, which involved multiple-camera setups.[15]

Inside Man was director of photography Matthew Libatique's second film with Lee. Because the filmmakers intended to finish with a digital intermediate (the post-production digital manipulation of color and lighting), Libatique chose to shoot Inside Man in the Super 35 format for a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. He mainly used Kodak Vision2 500T 5218 and Vision2 Expression 500T 5229 film stocks.[15][16] The film was shot with Arricam and Arriflex cameras and Cooke S4 lenses.[15][16]

Several scenes in Inside Man required multiple-camera setups, which meant that Libatique had to instruct and work with multiple camera operators. Lee wanted to create a visual distinction between the characters Russell (Owen) and Frazier (Washington), while incorporating visual metaphors. Russell's scenes, in which he masterminds the bank heist, were shot with a Steadicam to suggest that the character is in control. Frazier's scenes, in which he is tasked with handling the hostage situation, were filmed with multiple hand-held cameras to display the character's confusion.[15] Libatique explained, "I said, 'We want to create a sense of control and largely centered frames with Clive’s character, and we want to have movement with Denzel’s.' Having three operators on the same character, I’d watch all three. In a handheld shot, a long lens has a little bit of movement and a wider lens is inherently smoother. I would actually talk to the operator and tell him not to be so steady. It was the first time I’d worked with so many operators where I wasn’t one myself."[15] Telephone conversations between Russell and Frazier were shot using two cameras simultaneously filming the actors performing on two different sets of a soundstage at Steiner Studios.[3]:10 [4] Steadicam operator Stephen Consentino estimated that 80% of the film was shot with hand-held cameras or a Steadicam.[15] A total of seven cameras were used to film the scene where the hostages are finally released. A Technocrane was used for a crane shot that would cover the following moment, in which the hostages are placed in buses.[15]

The film features a number of scenes which involve Detectives Frazier and Mitchell (Chiwitel Ejiofor) interrogating several hostages during the aftermath of the heist. Libatique described these scenes as a "flash-forward" to events, explaining that Lee "wanted a look that would jump out and tell you you’re somewhere else."[16] Libatique photographed the scenes with Kodak Ektachrome 100D 5285 reversal film. Technicolor then cross-processed the filmed footage before it was put through a bleach bypass, which neutralized color temperature and created more contrast. Libatique explained, "Basically, it unifies all the color...When you try to apply correction, the film moves in very strange ways."[16]

Post-production facility EFILM carried out the digital intermediate (DI), with Libatique overseeing the process and working with colorists Steve Bowen and Steve Scott: "It’s difficult to match all of your shots meticulously when you have three cameras and one lighting setup, so I spent the majority of the DI just adhering to the original vision of the disparity in color temperature, which I can accentuate, versus the unified color temperature."[16] A majority of Inside Man was scanned on a Northlight film scanner, while the interrogation scenes had to be scanned on a Spirit DataCine, as the negatives proved "too dense for the Northlight to perform the task."[16]


Video game sequence

"I just hope people understand that this is an absolute statement about my horror at how violent these games that young kids play are, and also the infatuation with violence and gangsta rap among the black community. It's not a real game but it's not that far-fetched from the games that are being sold, and more importantly the mindset behind them. There are just too many black men killing each other as it is."

—Lee commenting on the film's 30-second video game sequence, which was created as part of a social commentary.[17]

Inside Man features a scene in which Russell (Owen) interacts with Brian Robinson (Amir Ali Said), an 8-year-old boy who is playing a violent video game titled "Gangstas iz Genocide" on his PlayStation Portable. The scene is intercut with a 30-second animated sequence of the fictional game, in which a character performs a drive-by shooting, before killing an intended target with an explosive hand grenade.[18] Using the Grand Theft Auto franchise as a reference, Lee wanted the scene to serve as a social commentary on gangsta rap, violent crime among African-Americans[18] and the rising level of violence in video games.[2]

Cinematographer Matthew Libatique enlisted his cousin, Eric Alba, and a team of graphic artists known as House of Pain to design the 30-second animated sequence.[18] Lee asked for the sequence to show two black characters in a ghetto environment dressed in gangster attire. He also gave the artists mockups of two scenarios that ended in homicide—one being a robbery at an ATM, and the other a drive-by shooting.[18]

House of Pain spent 10 days working on "Gangstas iz Genocide". Alba digitally photographed images of buildings near the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn, New York. Portions of the sequence were pre-visualized in 3D Studio Max, while stills were imported as texture maps and added to animated cut scenes created in 3D modeling package Maya. The artists also improvised the use of a hand grenade.[18] When Lee saw how violent the sequence was, he improvised the line "Kill Dat Nigga!" as a subtitle. The entire sequence was rendered out to play onscreen in full frame.[18] The original running time of the animated sequence was 60 seconds. Lee, however, cut it to 30 seconds, feeling that a shorter length would make more of an impact.[18] Upon Inside Man's theatrical release, he would regret the video game sequence in the film, saying, "The sad thing is somebody is probably gonna make a game out of it and take that as inspiration."[19]


Jazz musician and trumpeter Terence Blanchard composed the film score, marking his eleventh collaboration with Lee.[20] The soundtrack for Inside Man features the song "Chaiyya Chaiyya", composed by A. R. Rahman, which originally appeared in the 1998 Hindi film Dil Se.. The song is featured during the opening credits of the film. A remix of the song, titled "Chaiyya, Chaiyya Bollywood Joint" plays during the end credits, and features Panjabi MC's added rap lyrics about people of different backgrounds coming together in order to survive.[6] The soundtrack, titled Inside Man: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, was released on CD in North America on March 21, 2006, through record label Varèse Sarabande.[21]


Inside Man held its premiere in New York at the Ziegfeld Theatre on March 20, 2006, coinciding with Lee's 49th birthday.[22] On March 24, 2006, Universal Studios released the film in 2,818 theatres in North America.[23] The film was given the widest release of any Spike Lee film, edging out Summer of Sam (1999) by 1,282 theatres.[24] Inside Man was also released throughout 62 foreign markets.[25] The film was released on DVD on August 8, 2006,[26] on HD DVD on October 23, 2007[27] and on Blu-ray disc on May 26, 2009.[28]

Box office

On its opening day in North America, Inside Man grossed $9,440,295 with an average of $3,350 per theatre.[29] By the end of its opening weekend, the film had grossed $28,954,945, securing the number one position at the domestic box office.[29] Inside Man held the record for the highest opening weekend gross as a Denzel Washington starring vehicle, surpassing Man on Fire (2004) which debuted with $22.7 million on its first weekend.[30]

Inside Man had dropped 46.7% in its second weekend, earning $15,437,760; it had dropped to second place behind Ice Age: The Meltdown.[31] The film dropped an additional 40.9% in its third week, bringing in $9,131,410, though it remained in the Top 10 rankings for the weekend, placing fourth overall.[32] The film remained in the top ten for the fourth weekend in a row, grossing approximately $6,427,815 and finishing sixth for the week.[32] In its fifth weekend, Inside Man had grossed an additional $3,748,955, while in eighth place.[32] In its sixth weekend, Inside Man fell out of the box office top ten, finishing eleventh with an estimated $2,081,690.[32] The film ended its theatrical run in North America on July 6, 2006 after 15 weeks (105 days) of release.[1] Inside Man grossed a total of $88,513,495 in North American territories, ranking as Spike Lee's highest-grossing film, ahead of Malcolm X (1992), which had ended its domestic release with over $48 million.[33]

Inside Man was officially released overseas on March 23, 2006. In its opening weekend, it took in approximately $9,600,000 throughout ten foreign territories. Since its opening, the film has taken in approximately $95,862,759 in the overseas box office, giving it a worldwide total gross of $184,376,254.[1] In North America, Inside Man was the twenty-second highest grossing film of 2006,[34] while it ranked at twenty-first place as the highest-grossing film released overseas.[35]

Critical reception

Inside Man has received mostly positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes sampled 197 reviews, and currently has an 86% rating, making it "Certified Fresh". The site's critical consensus reads, "Spike Lee's energetic and clever bank-heist thriller is a smart genre film that is not only rewarding on its own terms, but manages to subvert its pulpy trappings with wit and skill -- and Denzel Washington is terrific as a brilliant hostage negotiator."[36] Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned Inside Man a weighted average score of 76 (out of 100) based on 39 reviews from mainstream critics, considered to be "generally favorable reviews".[37] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers gave the film a "B+" on an A+ to F scale, with exit polls showing that 54% of the audience was male, while 68% was at least 30 years old or older.[38] The American Film Institute named Inside Man as one of the top ten films of 2006.[39]

Empire gave the film 4 out of 5 stars with the verdict, "It’s certainly a Spike Lee film, but no Spike Lee Joint. Still, he’s delivered a pacy, vigorous and frequently masterful take on a well-worn genre. Thanks to some slick lens work and a cast on cracking form, Lee proves (perhaps above all to himself?) that playing it straight is not always a bad thing."[40] Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe wrote, "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."[41] David Ansen of Newsweek commented, "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."[42] Giving the film a B+ rating, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "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."[43]

Not all reviewers gave Inside Man positive reviews. [46]

Cancelled sequel

In November 2006, it was announced that a sequel to Inside Man was in development, with Russell Gewirtz reprising screenwriting duties. Under the working title Inside Man 2, the film would have Brian Grazer again serve as producer. Spike Lee was in negotiations to reprise his directing duties[47] while serving as an executive producer alongside returning member Daniel M. Rosenberg.[48] In 2008, Terry George was in negotiations to write the screenplay for the sequel;[49] he later replaced Gewirtz, whose screenplay was abandoned.[48] The plot for the sequel was intended to continue after the events of the first film, with Dalton Russell (played by Clive Owen) masterminding another robbery, and again matching wits with NYPD hostage negotiator Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington).[49] Lee confirmed that Washington, Owen, Jodie Foster and Chiwetel Ejiofor would all reprise their roles. He also expressed interest in filming Inside Man 2 during the fall of 2009.[48]

In 2011, it was announced that plans to make Inside Man 2 had been cancelled.[50] Lee confirmed this, expressing that he could not secure funding for the project. "Inside Man was my most successful film, but we can’t get the sequel made," he said. "And one thing Hollywood does well is sequels. The film’s not getting made. We tried many times. It’s not going to happen."[51]


  1. ^ Although it does not appear on any promotional material, or is credited as a co-production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks is credited at the end of the film. The company's logo also appears after the end credits.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Inside Man (2006) - Box Office Mojo".  
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  4. ^ a b c d Lee, Spike (2002). Audio commentary for Inside Man (DVD). Universal Studios. ; retrieved on August 12, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Inside Man (2006) - Full Credits -".  
  6. ^ a b c d "Inside Man (2006) - Notes -".  
  7. ^ a b Medsker, David (09/08/06). "Russell Gewirtz interview, Inside Man interview". Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Fleming, Michael (August 20, 2002). "U, Imagine: ‘Inside’ job | Variety".  
  9. ^ Levy, Emanuel. "Welcome to Emanuel Levy » Spike Lee Inside Man".  
  10. ^ Calhoun, John (April 2006). "The ASC -- American Cinematographer: Cop vs. Robber".  
  11. ^ "Gotham gives Lee ‘Inside’ job a break | Variety".  
  12. ^ Collins, Glenn (June 8, 2005). "Lights, Camera, Brooklyn! - New York Times".  
  13. ^ a b c d e "Inside Man Film Locations - On the set of New". Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
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