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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Inside Man [Blu-ray]


(Spike Lee, 2006)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Universal

Video: Universal Home Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:08:36.583

Disc Size: 44,847,443,725 bytes

Feature Size: 41,776,939,008 bytes

Average Bitrate: 43.27 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 26th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1 Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4127 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4127 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio German 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Italian 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Japanese 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround



English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese , Spanish, Swedish, none



Audio commentary by director Spike Lee
Deleted scenes (17:20)

The Making of Inside Man (10:20)
Number 4 (10:08)

BD-LIVE enabled





Description: Academy Award winner Denzel Washington, Academy Award nominee Clive Owen and Academy Award winner Jodie Foster star in this intense and explosive crime thriller. The perfect bank robbery quickly spirals into an unstable and deadly game of cat-and-mouse between a criminal mastermind (Owen), a determined detective (Washington), and a power broker with a hidden agenda (Foster). As the minutes tick by and the situation becomes increasingly tense, one wrong move could mean disaster for any one of them. From acclaimed director Spike Lee comes the edge-of-your-seat, action-packed thriller that The Wall Street Journal calls "a heist film that’s right on the money."



The Film:

The kind of intelligent entertainment that has not been Hollywood’s specialty for the past 40 years makes a comeback in the directorial hands of Spike Lee. Confounding all the expectations that could be formed for a movie in which, as a press release put it, “a tough cop, Detective Frazier (Denzel Washington), matches wits with a clever bank robber, Dalton (Clive Owen), in a tense hostage drama,” Inside Man is neither a formula commercial project nor the kind of cynical exercise that comes to life only in marginal winks and flashes. Lee and screenwriter Russell Gewirtz have made a film in which pleasures, tensions, and calculations that would be peripheral (at best) in a standard heist movie become central. And though some reviewers have claimed to find Lee at his most impersonal here, this is, I think, a genre film of the best kind, in which the personal style of the filmmaker functions with peak conviction, audacity, and assurance. The only thing missing is the hammering stridency that has marred even Lee’s best joints.

Excerpt from Chris Fujiwara at the Boston Phoenix located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Inside Man surfaces on Blu-ray in a superior transfer than the HD-DVD edition that came forth from Universal in 2007.  The image quality looks extremely competent in representing Lee's fine thriller. Even the high-contrast saturations (see captures of large-breasted girl and the one following of the 2 detectives ogling her) for 'future interview' events seems to support the desired look more acutely with prominence given to the blown-out characteristics - although this may appear problematic for some. It probably looked quite similar to this theatrically only 3 years ago. There is a nice preponderance of grain on this dual-layered Blu-ray with almost 45 Gig of the dual-layering taken up. There is no gloss. Colors aren't overly exhilarating and with the heavier texture - give a realistic look to the film on hi-def disc. With the Inside Man's distinct style - the move to 1080P has benefited the presentation to extol the visual conventions - making them appears less like weaknesses and more as they were intended. This is a huge leap from the DVD versions which couldn't define those, more nebulous, qualities.

















Audio :

NOTE: This release has been delayed to supply a 'corrected' audio track.

Universal put some real effort into the audio transfer with a responsive DTS-HD track at a healthy 4127 kbps - plus six separate foreign language DUBs in DTS. There is not an abundance of action in the film, as one might have expected from the 'genre', but - as in all Spike lee's films - the background music plays a bit part in setting mood - in the case of Inside Man it is suspense. Voices are crisp and even and the mix has some separation - regardless that the action characteristics are not excessive it still has some real depth. There are a host of subtitles supporting my Momitsu's revelation that the disc is, indeed, region free - playable on Blu-ray machines world-wide.



Extras :

The supplements appear to duplicate the HD-DVD with the fine Lee commentary. He's always good to listen to - relaxed and informative. There is nothing noteworthy aside from that. The featurette pieces are all in SD with a 'Making of...' which starts with the beginning of a cast read-thru and follows some behind the scenes with minor input from the stars; Own, Washington, Foster and Plummer. Pretty standard stuff. Not to be picky but the box advertises 'over 20-minutes' of deleted scenes and I clocked them out at 17:20 with no real organization or discussion of them - they just run, one after the other. A little more interesting is "Number 4" where Denzel and Spike reminisce for 10-minutes on their previous collaborations - Inside Man being the 'fourth'. The disc is BD-LIVE enabled for those who wish to venture there.



I've seen this 4 times now and the Blu-ray easily gives the best presentation. It's a layered film with great performances and a taut, driven narrative. I can see myself re-visiting it yet again in the future when I'm in the mood for an intelligent bank-heist drama. The price is right and despite the limitations in any new extra features - this still have excellent value for a home theater night of thrills and suspense. Yeah - we recommend. 

Gary Tooze

May 16th, 2009





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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