Viewed – 21 May 2009 DVD
Now this ticks two boxes to my liking straight away … the always reliable acting talents of one Denzel Washington, probably my favourite African-American actor (yeah, even more so than Samuel L, folks), and secondly, the fact this is a Spike Lee joint. Now this director has made plenty of celebrated films, not all of which have I actually bothered to see, but it has to be said, when I do take the time to take a puff on said joint, he impresses. Do The Right Thing is a definite classic, and I also recommend Edward Norton vehicle The 25th Hour for fans of quality, no-holds-barred acting.
Now back to the feature in hand. Lee has long since graduated from being the black-folks voice of a generation, and is now one of the most assured and skillful directors working today, and this very well done thriller is no exception. Step into the breach one Clive Owen, another actor I admire but don’t always manage to see the best of, and here he plays a clever-ass bank robber with an ingenious plan up his sleeve. On his tail is dapperly-dressed NYPD detective Denzel, ready to pitt wits with the criminals and hopefully save the day … but what he hasn’t banked on is just how damn clever this robber’s plan is, and not even a smug, shady government-type (Jodie Foster) can out smart him.
This is gripping, stylish and very well acted, even if a few of the cast-choices seem a little wasted (really, what is Willem Dafoe doing here? And Foster, although beautiful and sophisticated, has handled much meatier roles than this). But the story held my interest – I was eager to see how it all played out, and the timer on the DVD was not looked at once (a habit I fall into when a film looses me somewhere). No fear here, and although the final, drawn-out pay off is a little ‘meh’, this was a solidly entertaining 2hrs.
Verdict: 4 /5