March 25, 2006

Spike Lee, USA 2006

i don't like these studio Spike Lee films as much as his more personal work. he is a brilliant director. but i think that's just what makes these films pale in comparison to his more heartfelt efforts. i know he has to do these. or maybe he also enjoys these. but such a director needs depth. well, it's good to see Lee surrounded himself with great actors - Denzel, Clive Owen, Jodie, and Christopher Plummer. at least that's that. and the great Matthew Libatique handled the cinematography. the film does look good (shot almost entirely on a street corner and inside the bank where the heist is slowly unfolding) and the editing is fluid enough make the film's surprising length go by in a minute. i did find a few things to nitpick. first, and the most glaring error imo, are the flashback interviews. not only was their addition minimal to the story, but they diluted the tension by showing, from almost the very start of the robbery, who was gonna get out alive. there was a strange jarring effect to go from the intensity of the robbery to these safe, artily shot interviews back at the station. not the best decision. also. Jodie Foster. who looks fabulous, btw. but she has absolutely nothing to do!! her presence merely adds icy-cool class to the flick but that's it. she isn't asked to do a lot more and it is a shame. Christopher Plummer, on the other hand, aside from playing the old capitalist banker to a tee, has that one scene with Denzel where he simply shines and shows an immeasurable complexity. the film itself is smartly-written by (newcomer?) Russell Gewirtz and it adds enough complexities into its characters to fuel its little engine. there are traces of Spike's brilliance, and he does know how to drive a film, but what remains is still sub-Lee, only because his best work is of such high emotional and personal caliber. but give this one a try on dvd one quiet evening and you'll enjoy it for what it is-- a fun, smartly-written heist movie.

Posted by Sam | 10:09 PM |