Spike Lee's latest movie is perhaps his most mainstream fare to date—the plot hinges on a bank heist with a twist (what bank heist movie doesn't have a twist these days?) that promises to leave the audience guessing till the end. In reality, the only questions left hanging by the end of the movie are the result of bank vault door-sized holes in said plot. But, as in the movie itself, those bank vault doors aren't all that important. They're only a diversion. The interesting action is happening over to the side.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The plot, yes. Four bad guys, dressed like painters and led by Dalton Russell (Clive Owen), knock over Manhattan Trust. They lock the bank doors, wield guns, and take hostages—all of whom are forced to strip and put on matching painter's coveralls and masks. An NYPD officer on street patrol quickly figures out something's going down inside the bank—a 357 pointed in his face by a masked gunman did the trick—and the game is on. "Bad guys, here I come," says Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) as he and partner Bill Mitchell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) rush to the scene to serve as hostage negotiators.
Meanwhile, a rich white man is getting very uncomfortable in his posh digs at the news that one of his bank branches is being robbed. And not just any bank branch—the Manhattan Trust branch. It turns out that this Arthur Case (Christopher Plummer) has some incriminating evidence of the World War II-colluding-with-Nazis variety stored in a safe deposit box at that branch. Say it ain't so, Captain von Trapp!
Desperate to keep his history hidden, Case calls in the formidable Madeline White (Jodie Foster). Who is Madeline White? Good question. And I can't tell you, ...1
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