Inside Man Ending, Explained

If you love watching heist movies, then ‘Inside Man’ is the kind of film that you shouldn’t miss. Directed by Spike Lee, it stars Denzel Washington and Clive Owen, facing off against each other as a hostage negotiator and the orchestrator of the heist. By the end, it becomes clear that the plan was much more than about getting away with a lot of money. As secrets come to light, the line between the good guys and the bad guys disappears quickly. The film ends on a note that might leave you confused about a lot of things. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, bookmark this page for later. SPOILERS AHEAD

Plot Summary

A bank in Manhattan falls victim to a robbery in broad daylight when a group of masked men take it over and hold hostages. Detective Frazier is assigned to the case, and soon enough, he notices something off about the entire thing. The cops believe that the heist is about the money in the bank, but as Arthur Case, the founder of the bank, and Madeleine White, a woman whose reach extends to all the high places, get involved in it, Frasier gets the hint that there is a lot more to this heist than what it looks like. He knows that there is something inside the bank that Case wants to protect at any cost.

What was in Safe Deposit Box 392?

When the heist is over, no one is harmed, and apparently, nothing is stolen, so Frazier’s superior decides to drop the case. When Frazier tells him about the anomalous safe deposit box, he strictly orders him not to further pursue the matter. While this could be because of sheer incompetence and negligence on the part of the superiors, there is also a possibility that the investigation was halted in its tracks by Arthur Case.

He was rich and influential enough to have a sway over the police department, and because he knew that any investigation into the contents of the deposit box would be hazardous for him, he put a stop to it. But what was in the box, and why did he save it for so long if it was so harmful to him?

In the Second World War, when the Nazis were wreaking havoc on the world, Case found a way to make some profit. He was in business with the Nazis, though we never get the specifications of it. It was because of this alliance that he ratted out his Jewish friends to the regime who put them in concentration camps. Case was paid for snitching, and he also kept the invaluable ring that belonged to his friend.

He kept these things in the safe deposit box inside the bank, along with some documents that proved his involvement with the Nazis and the fact that he had laid the foundation of the bank with blood money. If the authorities were to get their hands on these things, Case would be tried for war crimes. He should have destroyed these things a long time ago, but the guilt and the sentimentality attached to them prevented him from doing so.

The Ending

One of the most important things about a heist is the escape plan. Frasier knew that the robbers would need a way out of the place, but he couldn’t figure out how they planned to do it. Russell tells him, as well as White, that he will walk out the front door when he feels like it. And that’s precisely what he does in the end.

At the beginning of the film, we find Russell in a small cell. It turns out that this space was constructed by his team during the heist. He planned to stay at the bank for about a week or until he knew things had died down. They had also dug up a hole for him to defecate while he was in hiding. He kept the diamonds with him, which kept his accomplices out of trouble with the cops. If they couldn’t find the diamonds, they couldn’t pinpoint anyone as a robber, and the case would be closed.

When Frazier figures out the existence of box 392, which had no records going back to the founding year of the bank, he realizes that whatever was in the box was the target. He gets the box opened and finds a ring inside it, with gum, and a note the directs him to follow it. Russell keeps the documents with himself to ensure a hold over Case. He leaves the ring for Frazier so that even without the documents, he can find out about Case’s past with the Nazis. He also leaves a diamond for Frazier, so that he can propose to his girlfriend and get married.

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