Saturday 20 January 2024

Movie Review: Inside (2023)

Genre: Confinement Survival Drama  
Director: Vasilis Katsoupis   
Starring: Willem Dafoe  
Running Time: 105 minutes  

Synopsis: Art thief Nemo (Willem Dafoe) breaks into a high-end Manhattan penthouse as part of a well-organized heist, with seven minutes to steal precious paintings and get out. After failing to find a coveted self-portrait by a celebrated artist, an alarm hacking mishap causes the luxury apartment to shut down, trapping Nemo alone inside. Abandoned by his colleagues with little food or water, a malfunctioning air conditioning system, and no way to call for help, Nemo has to survive and improvise an escape.

What Works Well: In a one-man, one-set drama, Willem Dafoe endures both physical and psychological hardship as the thief with an artist's soul, gradually losing his grip on reality due to prolonged confinement but nevertheless determined to find a way out. The apartment is gorgeous (before Nemo starts his destructive search for an exit), and with all the sophisticated alarm systems summoning no outside help, enjoyment can be found in interpretations of physical entrapment as a metaphor for mental crisis.

What Does Not Work As Well: There is no excuse for this story to be longer than 90 minutes, and a strong current of tedium creeps into the final third. At the literal level the plot holes are large, including crucial alarm systems disconnected from the outside world and dubious tactical break-out decisions (why not attempt to dislocate a balcony glass panel instead of the much more difficult skylight?). 

Conclusion: Breaking out is hard to do.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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