It’s annoying, yet oddly apt, that Inside Man sports sod-all in the way of extras. After all, we are talking about Spike Lee’s most vanilla movie to date. Which isn’t to say it’s bad – if you just want something slick and pseudo-sophisticated to veg out to on a Friday night, be our guest. But it still smarts to see the pint-sized provocateur go so journeyman on us in this bank-heist procedural, especially with all the guff about it being a riff on ’70s gritty Pacino outings like Dog Day Afternoon and Serpico. In honesty, The Negotiator’s nearer the mark.
But at least you get the pleasure of Denzel Washington’s dapper, possibly corrupt New York detective going toe-to-toe with masked masterthief Clive Owen and a superbly smug Jodie Foster. And there’s no denying it: the first half’s a gripper, twitchy and tense with plenty of nods towards modern urban anxieties. Until it lets itself go, that is, sprawling towards a flabby payoff that leaves you with the one feeling you never want from a Lee joint: indifference.