Inside Movie Review

“Inside” is a rare hybrid of a movie. There are movies about ‘Art’… And there are ‘Art Movies’. But in this case, it is an ‘Art Movie’ about ‘Art’. More specifically, this is a movie about the theft of Art – or at least the attempt. But when it all goes south, can the Art Thief exist on only paintings, sculptures and other pieces of Art?


In a high-rise New York penthouse, there is a treasure trove of pieces that have attracted the attention of an ‘inside’ man named Nemo (played by Willem Dafoe). The Owner (played by Gene Bervoets) is a billionaire with a taste for expensive art works. Nemo and some unseen allies have a plan. Nemo will be delivered via helicopter to the outside of the penthouse. The Owner is away and not planning to return any time soon.


Nemo is able to get inside the luxury suite, which is on the top floor. His partner, in the helicopter, gives Nemo seven minutes to get in, get the goods, and sneak back out again. They have the security codes, so all that Nemo needs to do is enter them into the security control panel. Once the system is shut off, Nemo can go to work.


There is supposed to be some valuable paintings by Egon Schiele, including a self-portrait. Nemo is able to grab several of his other paintings. But he cannot find the valuable portrait. The time is up, and Nemo gets the code from his accomplice. But there is something wrong. The code does not function correctly, and the whole luxury suite goes into lock-down mode, with sirens and lights.


His so-called friend in the copter tells Nemo that he is on his own. The security doors are locked tight. The front door, made out of heavy reinforced wood and steel, is unbreakable. So is the inches-thick bulletproof glass on the sliding door to the patio. Once it slides shut and locks into place, Nemo’s little Art Adventure-land has become a prison cell.


Nemo is able to turn off the flashing lights and sirens. The walls are so think that nobody outside the apartment could have heard them. But now, Nemo is stuck. There are magnificent pieces of Art hanging all around him. But none of them have any type of exit key. Frustrated, Nemo slams the control panel. That breaks the climate control system.


Nemo has the entire place to himself. But where he wants to be is someplace outside of these doors. The heat comes on and soon the temperature is up above 100 degrees. There are few things in the luxury suite that will be of any use in any attempt to break out. He finds that the power is still on. But the Owner has turned off the water supply before he left. That is not good for his long-term survival.


Nemo finds that the refrigerator still works. It is some fancy ‘smart fridge’, and it talks to Nemo when it opens it. There is almost no food inside. There is almost nothing in the freezer side. When that opens, he gets a nice rendition of the song “Macarena”. At least he will have some tunes, right? The place has some large decorative fish tanks. But these are filled with salt water. There is decorative pool, but the water is there is not drinkable.


Nemo finds a pantry, and at least there is some food in there — dog food. There is no running water, so there are no toilet facilities. At least the Owner has a super-large bathtub! Days and days pass by. Nemo sees a watering system that takes care of a big indoor garden area. At least the guy is able to take little drink every once in a while.


In the huge oversized living room, Nemo notices a big lighting display in the ceiling. The center area seems to be a skylight. So, maybe there is a Way Out. Only one problem – it is about thirty feet off the floor. Good thing this places is stuffed with breakable furniture. Nemo finds beds and sofas, chairs and tables, anything that can be moved and strapped together. He eventually constructs a makeshift Jenga tower in the center of the room. It is only around twelve feet short.


Nemo watches the big-screen TV, and he sees it is hooked up to security cameras in the building. Over time, he scopes out all the people who live and work there. He is impressed with a young woman who works in housekeeping. He calls her Jasmine (plyed by Eliza Stuyck). She is the only one who comes up to the top floor. He sees that Jasmine is outside, and Nemo goes to bang on the door. But it is so thick, and Jasmine is wearing headphones.


After what appears to be months locked in this luxurious prison complex, Nemo is running low. He is running low on food, and he is low on drinkable water. Be more than anything, he is missing any type of human contact. His day is filled with resignation to his fate. He eats a little and drinks a little. He examines the collected pieces of Art all around him. He watches the TV security cameras.


Nemo has lost count of the days and weeks. It might be months by now. But one thing remains; he still can enjoy the beauty of Art. He has his own person sketchbook, back from day one. That has been filled up, so now he takes to creating his own art on the apartment walls.


These lonely days have given his mind a lot of trouble. He dreams of a meeting with the Owner, where he sees how this guy has no interest in Art. He imagines a close encounter with Jasmine, and he wants that to happen. But it is all in his mind. Perhaps all the things that continue to happen are only in Nemo’s fertile mind.


“Inside” is a fascinating movie when it gets down the performance of the main character. Basically, Nemo is just about the only character.  Willem Dafoe does a magnificent job playing a guy stuck in a terrible situation. He is cool, calm and collected – that is, until the weight of loneliness and hunger set in. They say necessity is the Mother of Invention. Nemo turns out to be one inventive mother…


The large and roomy set of the penthouse becomes a plush prison cell. It slowly devolves into a wrecked disaster area. Nemo tries all sorts of ways to break out. In the end, there is the ambiguous ending – when it seems that the frail and hungry man has escaped. But is the victorious scene for real? Or is it only in his fevered mind?


“Inside” is deeply personal look at what could happen when a man dedicated to Art is forced to live in captivity with all the Art he could ever want.


Directed by: Vasilis Katsoupis
Screenplay by: Ben Hopkins
Story by: Vasilis Katsoupis
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Gene Bervoets, Eliza Stuyck
Cinematography: Steve Annis
Edited by: Lambis Haralambidis
Music by: Frederik van de Moortel
Distributed by: Focus Features
Release date: March 17, 2023
Length: 105 minutes
MPAA rating: R for language, some sexual content and nude images
Genre: Thriller


Rating contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

I think movies need to be shared and enjoyed by as many people as possible! Going to a movie theater is a group experience, even if you go in there alone. When the lights go dark and movie begins, you can participate in a special kind of magic. You can be entertained, or enlightened. But you are never bored. Or at least, let's hope not. Try reading the reviews first.. maybe that will help!

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OK, I hope you like it. There is a lot of Willem Defoe in this movie!