Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Real Inside Man

SPOILER WARNING: plot details below.

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Just saw “Inside Man” starring three of my favorite actors: Jodie Foster, Clive Owen and Denzel Washington again today. I had enjoyed the movie when I saw it the first time in the theater and enjoyed it again. Today, however, as I was waiting to fall asleep, I ran across the program “Mastermind”. I have enjoyed this program before because it simply amazes me how observant and smart these deviants are. They notice the everyday things that people usually just see and ignore. These are determined, courageous individuals albeit with a most unfortunate predilection towards bucking society and its norms.

I was very surprised to learn about William Smarto (and his brother) and their modus operandi for breaking into lockers. William Smarto and his brother used human engineering to scope out the bank and its employees.

The Smartos noticed that the employees only checked who they let in, not who left and when. They also specially selected a bank that had false ceilings and perpendicular disjoint rows of lockers that created a void space. Smarto used a locker he rented in here to hide his tools used for breaking into the other lockers, he used the false ceiling to meticulously stow away supplies he would need later for robbing the lockers, and most interestingly, he used the 2’x2’ gap between the walls and the locker rows to disappear into.

William stayed there till the bank closed and the auto time lock for the bank vault kicked in. He then came out and broke in to 70+ lockers and before the bank opened again the next morning, went back into his hiding place. The next morning after the vault opened again, he simply walked out the front door with his loot!

And this struck me as startlingly similar to the heist in Inside Man. I wonder if Spike Lee’s opus adopted the story from this real-life incident. Perhaps we should count this as another instance of art imitating life.