09 April 2006

Inside Man is great fun, by the way. It's the ultimate David Mamet movie, mostly because Mamet had nothing to do with it. It's an unusually successful example of the sort of clever thriller that Mamet has been trying to make—with mixed results—for the past decade. All of the trademarks are here, including the clever, vaguely anticlimactic plot, the preference for elaborately worded threats over actual bloodshed, and the sometimes inexplicable hints of hidden agendas and unspoken motivations. Even the dialogue has something of the Mamet rhythm, although Mamet has never been able to get his actors to loosen up the way Spike Lee does here. Like Mamet's recent movies, it's a bit hollow, but it's a lot more satisfying—at least to this critic—than Heist or Spartan or even The Spanish Prisoner.

However, Jodie Foster's role in this movie—as a classically Mametesque ice queen—reveals one of my limitations as a film critic. As we left the theater, my friend said: "They should have fired their costume designer. Her clothes were badly cut. And she could barely walk in those heels." Needless to say, such things don't even register on my radar. Then I read the following in Manohla Dargis's review in the New York Times:
[Jodie Foster] stalks the sets in form-fitting suits and nose-bleed heels that show off her spectacular legs wonderfully. (She could kill with those things!)
Obviously, there's a critical debate brewing here in which I am utterly unqualified to participate. It isn't really surprising. In all seriousness, I've often suspected that my indifference to fashion has blinded me to key aspects of the movies I see. I'm reminded of the friend of a friend who accurately foresaw the ending of The Sixth Sense, because she noticed that Bruce Willis wore the same outfit throughout the entire movie....

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