Willem Dafoe plays a thief trapped alone inside a luxury Manhattan apartment with a hi-tech security system and an invaluable art collection in this ingenious and incredibly immersive survival thriller.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
“Inside follows Nemo (Willem Dafoe) as he's sent to steal some expensive artwork from the well-secured New York flat of an art collector. Unfortunately for Nemo, the apartment's security system goes haywire before he gets out with the loot, sealing every exit shut with unbreakable glass and thick metal locks. Ultimately, the robbery gone wrong condemns Nemo to a challenging stay inside a concrete cage. Nemo's support team abandons the thief as soon as things go south. And since the flat is more of a personal gallery than a living space, there's no way of telling when the apartment's owner might return. So, alone, trapped, and with no means of communicating with the outside, Nemo must figure out how to survive long enough so he can manage to escape.
It's easy to approach Inside as yet another pandemic-inspired film that shows the dangers of isolation. All the main elements of this growing subgenre are there, including Nemo's slow descent into madness as he's deprived of any human contact. But it would be a mistake to condense the movie into a single note, as Inside is, above all, about the intrinsic connection between art and the human desire to exist beyond the confines of time... Inside turns Nemo into the manifestation of human endurance, thrilling the audience as he beats the odds and keeps stretching his life, one day at a time. Katsoupis uses close-up to show the details of Nemo’s suffering and grit, letting viewers observe drops of sweat running down Dafoe’s back or the actor’s lips cracking due to the extreme temperatures. In Inside, Dafoe’s body becomes the center of the movie’s bizarre art exposition as the ultimate representation of what the human will can achieve.” — Marco Vito Oddo, Collider
“Labeled as a thriller, only the first ten minutes of Inside truly fit within the tropes of the genre. The remainder of Katsoupis’ sophomore effort is a much more subdued study of gradual mental decay that greatly benefits from Willem Dafoe, an actor perfectly primed to communicate the smallest nuances of human behaviour with an almost unmatched domain of physicality.” — Rafaela Sales Ross, The Playlist