Netflix movie of the day: Denzel Washington and Spike Lee surprisingly subvert the heist movie formula with Inside Man

A close up of Keith Frazier looking at someone off camera in 2006's Inside Man
Inside Man earned rave reviews from critics upon its initial release. (Image credit: Universal Pictures)
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Not to be confused with the David Tennant-starring TV drama of the same name, 2006's Inside Man (which you can stream now on Netflix) is a Spike Lee joint that features one of Denzel Washington's best performances, as well as a scene-stealing turn from Jodie Foster. 

Inside Man is a heist movie that stars Washington as a disgraced NYPD detective and hostage negotiator. When a bank robber – played by Clive Owen – takes over a wealthy Manhattan bank, Washington and his partner are given the job of talking him out. However, it soon emerges that this is no ordinary heist, and the bank contains a secret that very powerful people are determined to withhold from the general populace.

Is Inside Man worth streaming on Netflix?

Dalton Russell stands in a bank's vault in 2006's Inside Man movie

Inside Man is worth watching if you're a fan of heist films or enjoy the subversion of classic genre tropes. (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Spike Lee certainly has his fun with this one. Indeed, Inside man might appear to be your typical genre movie, but it's one that enjoys subverting some of this film category's most notable tropes. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, critics were divided by the creative swings it takes. The Guardian called it "supremely annoying and nonsensical", while Time Out said it was "a slick, kinetic and relatively straightforward – which is to say enjoyably twisty-turny – tranche of cat-and-mouse procedural." 

Adding to its mixed reception was The Toronto Star, whose reviewer felt it was "an exercise in showy, cynical hollowness". However, USA Today believed it to be "exceptionally well written with clever twists and witty dialogue". Movieweb said that "thrillers are rarely so well conceived; Inside Man is a must-see", while the Sydney Morning Herald, meaning it as a compliment, opined: "Like everything Lee does, it resonates with the buzz and hum of New Yorkers getting on one another's nerves." 

So, is Inside Man worth checking out on the world's best streaming service? Reading the above, you might still be sitting on the fence about it. Based on its 86% critical and 85% audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, though, it appears that Inside Man is definitely more than a passable film that'll you want to stream. One for our best Netflix movies list? Don't be surprised if sneaks on there at some point.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.