“Inside” Rating: 3.5/5
“Inside” is the latest survival film to hit the market. Its claustrophobic tone mixes nicely with some interesting psychological explorations.
Willem Defoe dives into the role of Nemo, a high-end art thief who plans to rob a luxurious penthouse. When his operation doesn’t go as planned, he is locked inside with no way out and limited resources. Can Nemo use his skills to escape? Or will he go mad in the process?
Small-scale films are becoming increasingly unique. With a blockbuster heavy industry, intimate stories like this are a welcomed change of pace. “Inside” borrows inspiration from movies like “Cast Away,” “Buried” and “127 Hours.” It really showcases the central performance, letting Defoe own the role.
Another interesting aspect is the setting. While Nemo is locked inside of a small penthouse, he has the ability to see what’s going on in the outside world. He constantly views the world moving forward on the ground level, peering out the window wishing he could escape. He also has access to cameras in the building, observing employees of the building he’s locked in. This makes for an interesting look into Nemo’s psychological state, especially as it deteriorates. He builds scenarios inside of his mind where he’s able to socialize with these individuals. I found this especially engaging because it brought out the human elements any viewer would feel in such a terrifying experience. Without Defoe’s committed performance, the story could have fallen apart.
I also enjoyed the ideas pertaining to the art he was stealing. The film begins with a narration on Nemo’s philosophy of art, concluding with it, as well. I found this to be effective, as it analyzes what one can go through to create a masterpiece. Another idea that piggybacks on this theme is that destruction leads to creation. I was pondering this throughout the film as it ties into Nemo’s circumstance.
While “Inside” manages to bring a fresh story to the table, certain elements hold it back from being great. I found the pacing in the first act to be a bit slow. The film kicks into gear when Nemo begins to struggle with his state of mind. I could see certain viewers losing interest quickly unless you’re jiving with the art themes being explored.
The story isn’t especially memorable either. Having a lasting impact as the previous single actor films mentioned is unlikely. While intriguing during the viewing, I don’t see myself revisiting this one.
A new Willem Defoe movie is always worth investigating. “Inside” harnesses his strengths as an actor and lets him own the screen. The plot builds into something larger and managed to keep me interested throughout. I just don’t see this being a film that lingers past its box office release.
A unique story with some thoughtful ideas is enough to warrant a recommendation, but not all audiences will enjoy the style and pacing. Check it out if you enjoy small scale psychological thrillers or thematic art exploration.
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