Who wouldn’t want to be trapped in a penthouse full of extravagant wealth with an Oscar nominated actor?
“Inside” directed by Vasilis Katsoupis and starring Willem Dafoe, opens up with Nemo, a high-end art thief, in the middle of a heist. He has the opportunity to grab many expensive pieces of art, but he is on a mission for specific artworks. His team on the radio is directing him where to go and how to disable the alarms when everything goes haywire. Security is triggered and the penthouse is locked down with no way out.
This film had the potential to showcase the talents of Willem Dafoe and highlight an interesting dilemma of who to root for, the high-end art thief looking for his big score or for the super-rich who hoards wealth where no one else can experience it. Unfortunately, this film falls short of its potential. William Dafoe is placed in the untenable position of being locked in this penthouse that could hold everything of use but is barren of even the basics. The fridge proves to hold only a small amount of expensive food, like caviar, and the tortuous effect of playing the Macarena every time the fridge is opened. Due to the security being triggered there is no power or running water for the majority of the film. He has to get creative and capture the water being used to water the garden and has to scrounge around for leftover dog food to survive. As time goes on, he even gets desperate enough to create his own version of sushi with the exotic fish from the fish tank.
In his attempts to fix the blaring alarms, Nemo breaks the thermostat control, and the temperature of the penthouse fluctuates from extreme hot and extreme cold throughout the film. In addition to the lack of food, I expected to see Willem Dafoe’s shine as his character descends into hopelessness and desperation. Instead, what I experienced was some moments of humor, some moments of disgust, but in general this film did not go to the depths of despair that could have been reached. Specific camera angles were used to great effect to show the magnitude of empty space in the penthouse as well as the claustrophobic experience of being locked in with no escape. There are times where Willem Dafoe provides commentary about art, and the pretentious wealth which he is “living” in but there was much more depth to the human psyche that could have been explored throughout this situation.
Nemo does escape, eventually leaving behind his own artwork on the walls. So, in a sense the captive becomes the creator but as we are never introduced to the owner of the penthouse this ending does not add much depth to the film.
This film drags on at times and unless you are a huge fan of Willem Dafoe, I would recommend that your time would be better spent on other activities.