Spike Lee’s slick hostage thriller offers a handful of new twists on the genre but doesn’t transcend it. Clive Owen plays the wicked smart criminal who trades the familiar lines with Denzel the negotiator: “You’ll give me exactly what I ask for or I’ll start killing hostages!” etc. Willem Defoe is the SWAT team leader who gets this close to botching it all, and Jodie Foster can’t quite get a handle on her role as supertough mystery woman. The few fresh ideas make the movie worthwhile, and it’s curious to see Lee’s attention to race bleed into a big-budget thriller like this: there’s a Sikh screaming for his turban, a gangster lectures a kid about violent video games, and in my favorite jokey moment, a bunch of cops argue about train connections like only New Yorkers can. At times, the Terence Blanchard soundtrack made this film feel strangely like When the Levees Broke.
Welcome to my site — I'm glad you're here. I’m a writer, editor, translator, traveler, web designer, photographer, critic, storytelling consultant, and social entrepreneur. I’ve published two novels and a book of film criticism, launched Germany's first online literary journal, founded the writers' community Fictionaut, and started West Africa's first vegetarian food service. I graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Ph.D. in English. I've lived in New York City, New Orleans, Mississippi, Wiesbaden, Germany, and the Dominican Republic, and currently divide my time between Dakar and Berlin.