INSIDE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

INSIDE – A Review by Cynthia Flores

Brutal is the first word that comes to mind when describing this condemning narrative of the wealthy, and all they possess. This film is as stark as the penthouse apartment where the story takes place.

The penthouse apartment is vast and cold, made of cement, steel, and glass. It’s decorated with designer items, state-of-the-art furniture, a few plants, and extremely expensive artwork. The place and its high-tech security system are partners in the imprisonment of one art thief named Nemo (Willem Dafoe).

Inside tells the story of Nemo. Who, with a team of thieves, breaks into the penthouse to steal as many works of art as possible. They know the owner is out of the country on business, so they have the place to themselves. Something goes wrong with the heist, and the security system locks it all down. His team abandons Nemo. Expecting the guards or police to come rushing in, he waits. But no one comes. On a giant monitor, he watches all the live security footage of the building. As the story goes on, Nemo fixates on a cleaning lady he hopes will set him free.

As time passes, Nemo must use his wits and inventive mind to survive. It’s impressive how he figures out how to survive in an apartment with no running water and very limited food stock. He loses himself in his own attempts to create art as the space becomes a prison. He must dig deep within to keep his sanity.

The film luxuriates in its own brutality as it shows Nemo’s moments of hunger, thirst, and the very human need to use the toilet. I told you he is stuck in there for months on end.

Inside is as highbrow as the art that is all around Nemo. Various mediums, including painting, sculptures, photography, drawings, installations, and video represent the art collection in the film. They were recreations of the real pieces. Any art lover will have fun seeing pieces that are known to be in private collections and not housed in museums. 

My main issue with the film is that it might not reach a broad audience even with a star like Willem Dafoe in the lead. Even the Greek director’s (Vasilis Katsoupis) description of the film is too academical for most US film audiences. He is published as saying,     

“Inside is an ironic look at how our golden cages can come out as prison cells. A brutal view of the dark side of luxury. A note on the perception of the real world and how it changes given unprecedented stimuli. And, last but not least, a cinematographic take on contemporary art and living, and its real value.”

 I give Inside 3 stars, only because the ending saved it for me, else I would have rated it much lower. If you are a hardcore Willem Dafoe fan, you will enjoy all one hundred and five minutes of the film. That includes the audio coda at the end of the credits. If not, you can pass on this one.


Directed by: Vasilis Katsoupis

Written by: Ben Hopkins, Vasilis Katsoupis

Rated: R

Selig Rating: 3 Stars

Running Time: 105 min


Limited Theatrical Release: March 17th

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Gene Bervoets, Eliza Stuyck


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.

4 Stars – Good movie/show

3 Stars – OK movie/show

2 Stars – Well, there was nothing else…

1 Star – Total waste of time.

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