A wily bank robber has concocted the perfect heist and always seems to be one step ahead of the NYPD. With a scandalized detective trying to get a handle on the situation, a tangential development foments involving a power broker and the seemingly magnanimous owner of the bank. Spike Lee's "Inside Man" is a flavorful tribute to his hometown that contains many references to great and gritty New York films. The film is energetic and engaging and moves at a brisk pace even though it does tend towards overlength. Clive Owen is excellent as the clever criminal but I found Denzel Washington's character to be obnoxious and totally useless to the plot's resolve, even though the filmmakers wish you to believe otherwise. Also, it seems unwise to cast Jodie Foster as the power broker who brings little to the part and Christopher Plummer, though effective, is playing his stock character as the head of the bank. "Inside Man" succeeds as a bank heist/cop flick on the most basic level but never does anything to soar to the levels of the films it emulates such as "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Serpico".