We saw Inside last night, and then came home and read reviews. I don’t think this is a spoiler, as you get the premise from the trailer. During a heist gone wrong, an art thief gets trapped in a modern, “smart” apartment for, it seems, months. But read on at your own risk.
There really aren’t many good reviews, at least, I haven’t read any. Of the bad reviews, I agree that:
- The film is hollow
- Another director could have made something great out of this
- It would have been interesting to see a slicker, more polished actor portray Dafoe’s character. He is gritty and doesn’t have far to fall, in other words.
I take issue with the idea that this film is not worth watching. It is totally worth watching. It’s mostly a one man show, Willem Dafoe as Nemo works the material with mastery. There is room for movies like this – we need more films like this.
As Nemo confronts his situation, I was thinking of Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy, and could see this being an amazing novella under Auster’s pen. The director is mostly unsuccessful in using the camera to bring any depth to Nemo’s predicament, or in portraying Nemo’s internal struggles, his character, etc.
Something that the other reviews I’ve read missed: Inside provides commentary on art commodification, and the NYC art world. The choices made by the collector, the items to be stolen, and Nemo’s relationship to the apartment and the works contained inside are worth considering. It also hints at madness as it relates to vision and art, although weakly. It’s subtle, but I think if these ideas are teased out, the film might reveal that is has legs. That said… there are problems.
This film places us directly and intimately in a confined space with Nemo, and as such, the following plot holes are quite glaring:
- Nemo is clearly a sophisticated thief – he, and his “man in the chair” number 3, have done a lot of homework to get into this apartment. They have a helicopter! So, why wouldn’t Nemo wear gloves? And a mask? The odds that Nemo has a clean record seem very low.
- Why didn’t number 2 or 3 come find Nemo, once it was clear the police weren’t involved, yet Nemo has disappeared?
- The “Owner” is an architect. How is it that such a sophisticated, well thought out dwelling wouldn’t notify the owner or building attendant that the system(s) have failed? Given that the fridge plays Hey Macarena through the whole apartment if left open too long, wouldn’t the apartment have fail safe systems, too? And, since Nemo disabled all the speakers in the place to silence the deafening alarm, how can we hear the fridge so loudly?
- Nemo doesn’t notice the smoke detectors for… a very long time. Again, unlikely. Also, I would have thought someone as smart as Nemo would have searched every inch of the apartment and found the secrets a lot sooner, like, by day two.
- The water is turned off, yet somehow the sprinkler system for the plants works. What?
- The electricity is on – but, there is no Microwave?
- Nemo works to move a very heavy table from upstairs to downstairs. The table top seems to be marble or concrete. I believe he might have been able to break a window with it.
- When Nemo talks to a pigeon, he taps a window and the bird jumped. I think that glass would be breakable.
- Why doesn’t the building manager/Owner representative/fire department respond to the fire alarm?
- Where does all the water go after the sprinkles go off, and why didn’t anyone notice?
- How did Nemo defecate what seems to be his own body weight, on a few condiments and some pasta?
- The passage of time could have been marked more clearly – we see snow and fireworks, but they are outside the apartment, and I don’t know why that needed to be subtle, when it could have enhanced the story.
- I doubt very much those bolts could have been removed with chair legs.
- The hallucinations were gratuitous and unnecessary. They only detract from the films stronger parts.
- The biggest crime: Not enough set up regarding Nemo or the Owner, and while we hear Nemo’s voice over the ending credits the ending was completely unsatisfactory. Lazy, pretending to be craft?
Yes, the problems outweigh the film’s strengths (Dafoe’s performance aside). Definitely a streaming option, as it’s more fun to think about what is wrong with the picture, than it’s few strong points.