If the idea for your film is to create a tense character study that is solely based on one character that pushes them to their absolute breaking point, Willem Dafoe is definitely the right choice to create something like this. Vasilis Katsoupis had the concept and directs the story written by Ben Hopkins to bring forth a film that mostly works. While the idea is certainly intriguing and the performance is top notch, it does come vaguely redundant.
Inside focuses on Nemo (Willem Dafoe) who is a high end art thief, as he is determined to break into what feels like the worlds most high end New York City penthouse with some serious security. He successfully manages to get into the unit, with everything worked down to a tee, and has a few pieces successfully taken. His partner, Number 3 (Andrew Blumenthal) who is supposed to be his getaway, refuses to get him when he cannot find the ‘Self Portrait’ and when things go haywire Number 3 simply abandons nemo and leaves him stranded in the unit. This is where thinks take off, he is now trapped inside of this essential museum, with no way out. While this may not be the most horrific place to be trapped inside of, the smart home decides to malfunction after Nemo tries to escape, and the elements are now working against him. With time against him, Nemo has to find a way to somehow survive while fighting extreme heat and extreme cold, and no food all because the heist went sideways.
Willem Dafoe is arguably, full stop, one of the best actors who is working today. Simply putting him in your film elevates the film to a new level of madness or prestige, depending on the picture. Works like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man with Dafoe playing Norman Osbourne/Green Goblin had fans easily clamouring to their seats to see more of his unhinged performance. Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse is another example of Dafoe being unhinged and delivering a performance that is boneshaking. Inside gives us another performance that is simply divine and soul stirring, Dafoe carries the movie literally on his back as we watch his descent into madness hoping to survive and what his fight or flight looks like. The performance is simply sublime and even when the movie becomes derivative and a little dull because of that, Dafoe always keeps the audience engaged.
While inside captures the audience and leaves us truly engaged in the first half, it is the second act and most of the third act that is redundant but the powerhouse that is Willem Dafoe saves the film on more than one occasion. While Inside is under two hours, if it shaved itself down to a tight 85 or so minutes, it certainly would have worked better and cut back on the redundancies. There is no need to run to your local theatre, however if you do choose to go inside, Inside is a journey that is mostly rewarding.