when i first saw this film i thought they took the easy way out by completely demonizing denzel’s character in the end. as i watched it this time, though, i realized that the character was always completely dark and evil, i just didn’t see it. part of this is because of the allure of the character. he has a crafty ability to persuade, like a con-man, and it’s this quality that persuaded me into thinking his character was less evil than he actually is. not incidentally, this is part of what keeps ethan hawke’s character on board as long as he is. denzel will do something we know to be bad and without merit, and then find some way of selling us on its long-term value to society. for those “undecided” voters of 2004 who happened to fall for bush (again) it might be a good idea to check this film out and parallel how bush and denzel’s character sell their audience a bill of goods for their own profit. ethan hawke finally figures it out when his head is in a bathtub about to be blown off, hopefully it doesn’t take the rest of us that long. an even better film (and performance from denzel) than i had originally realized. good direction from fuqua.