The Clubhouse Podcast
Rob's Review of "Inside"
Here is the thing about Vasilis Katsoupis’ Inside: there’s not much really to talk about to set you up for my review. All you really need to know is that Willem Dafoe plays Nemo, an art thief that breaks into a high-rise penthouse apartment to do what he does in order to get some very expensive pieces and winds up locked inside said penthouse do to a faulty alarm system (I’ll get to that in a moment) for about ninety-eight percent of the one-hour-and-forty-five minute stretch of this film. As time goes on, everything about Nemo breaks down as reality and fantasy become one while he continually tries to escape a luxury prison that unfortunately lacks the basics for survival.
On the surface, this film has potential. With an actor like Defoe who could work an award-worthy performance with a coat rack if he had to (and really does what he does well here), working completely on his own with only voices over a radio at the beginning and the building’s workers on television security footage should be a walk in the park here from an entertainment standpoint. That is not the case for me with Inside due to the fact that even a legend like Willem Defoe cannot save a script that seems more improvised than anything else, and that can only take things so far. With some of the imagery that seems to be there simply for shock value (especially in the third act), I found myself simply not caring. Even in moments that were supposed to be considered as revelations to Nemo, I was more concerned on how close this film was to the end credits than I was getting emotionally invested in what was happening to him.
The other issue here is the script itself. There was simply no moment for me to buy in from the beginning due to the fact that it consistently asked more questions than it answered. The events that get Inside in motion (if it is to be called that) even had me asking why this was a thing. It almost feels like this film is more of an indictment of our reliance on technology than anything else, but it gets lost in a narrative that is simply the darkest timeline’s version of Cast Away without any form of heart or emotional impact. In case you are actually planning to see this film (and… okay), I won’t spoil anything here but it’s just not a good film, it makes no sense, and when an actor like Willem Defoe who really knows how to play this type of character can’t make me connect to this film in any way should tell you that the ONLY way to see this is either for the morbid curiosity you may take from this review or simply because someone else didn’t give you another choice.