Courtesy, Focus Features

Movie Review: Inside

07:00 March 23, 2023
By: Fritz Esker

Willem Dafoe plays an art thief who finds himself trapped in a skyscraper's penthouse on a heist in the new film Inside.

The thief is looking to steal a few top-dollar paintings from the penthouse. While he has initial success getting past the high-tech security system, a technical malfunction with the system leaves him sealed inside with limited supplies, no cell phone signal, and no one who has any interest in helping him get out.

There's already a big logical leap to take from the start: any security system as high-tech and intricate as the one the penthouse owner has here would likely notify the company's central office if there was a technical malfunction. I have a friend who gets a Ring Doorbell alert every time a stiff breeze jostles the wind chimes on her porch. There's no way a system of this expense would not generate a response if a malfunction of the type depicted in the film happened.

However, movies can get past central plot holes if the execution is top-notch. After all, no one who loves Speed (as I do) really believes a bus could fly across a 50-foot interstate gap. Inside could have survived the plot issue above if the execution worked. But there's a limit to the amount of things the thief can do to try to get out, so the film pretty quickly bogs down to him losing his mind. The losing-his-mind section could work if director Vasilis Katsoupis had a knack for unsettling visuals and shot compositions the way directors like Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, and Terry Gilliam do. Alas, he does not.

The best thing about Inside is Dafoe, who gives a committed performance. Unfortunately, the film he serves is one that might have worked better as a 30-minute short, but proves to be a bit of an endurance test at an hour and forty-five minutes.

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