Another great film from director Spike Lee.
A group of people dressed as painters take hostage a bank in New York, and continually stall the cops with riddles and podcasts so they don't storm the building, which leaves the detective wondering why they don't have to stall the thieves themselves. Amidst the chaos of the situation, a fixer working for the bank's founder must retrieve a document of sentimental value before it ruins the reputation of it's owner.
While the general plot is nothing new, it does feature some twists and turns, and the characters actually point out the situation's own similarity to films of the heist genre.
Excellent performances by the 2 leads, Denzel Washington and Clive Owen. The personality of Detective Keith "Fraaaizerrrrr" is comical, frustrated, and believable. The attitude of lead crook Dalton Russel isn't cocky, but instead is very fed-up like cuz the cops won't agree to his demands. He's also really cool, as is the chick that serves as his sidekick.
Jodie Foster's role as the fixer however isn't that amazing, and it seems as if her entire character's existence is pointless, as she only gives an excuse to reveal general data about the secret document, when that data would've come out anyway by the end, as it did w/out the help of her character.
Willem Dafoe as the lead S.W.A.T. guy is funny, and accurately ascertains the situation, and does what those guys do best: take control that only complicates the situation. But not as often as it sounds. Overall, he's a cool and likable character.
Other roles include Elijah Jafour as Fraizer's right hand guy, and several other comical performances by the hostages.
Not many spectacular visuals, but still good. The effect of the footage in the interrogation room scenes are kinda cool.
The musical score however was rather bizarre. It featured a good song called "Chaiyaa Chaiyaa" in the opening and end credit that didn't really fit the movie, but still seemed to work out alright. The score itself was a bit off, for example, a mariachi band seems to be supplying the music in a scene featuring the S.W.A.T. team planning how to storm the bank with actual filmed scenes showing the plan in action. It doesn't fit at all, and is really weird. It makes you think some mariachi in black with a guitar case is gonna reveal himself as the robber! lol! No, but it was weird.
This was one of the best heist films since "Dog Day Afternoon" (1972) which is a clear modern day nod to that film in almost every way, except the crooks planned it, and Sonny didn't! lol!
A great heist flick that keeps you on edge until the very end! Great for fans of the heist genre!