Home Entertainment Berlin Review ‘Inside’: Willem Dafoe Delivers Tour De Force Performance In An Art Film All About Art – And Survival – Billionschannel

Berlin Review ‘Inside’: Willem Dafoe Delivers Tour De Force Performance In An Art Film All About Art – And Survival – Billionschannel

Berlin Review ‘Inside’: Willem Dafoe Delivers Tour De Force Performance In An Art Film All About Art  – And Survival – Billionschannel


Willem Dafoe gets a dream role with Inside, a combo of art film in more ways than one, psychological thriller, heist movie, and survival tale all rolled into one in which Dafoe’s Nemo is center stage, alone, the entire time.

The Focus Features release is World Premiering today at the Berlin Film Festival and is the brainchild and narrative feature debut for Greek director Vasilis Katsoupis whose only previous feature was a documentary called My Friend Larry Gus. Here with the help of screenwriter Ben Hopkins he takes a challenging leap forward creating a wrenching drama about an art thief who becomes trapped in a glass cage, in this case a New York City luxury apartment that if we didn’t know better could pass itself off as an art gallery, it walls and floors full of distinctive works of arts from paintings to sculptures, video to installations, and more. It is a treasure trove for Nemo, who is traversing the high tech apartment, largely composed of glass and grey cement, a cold atmosphere of high class lifestyle, but now empty and a prime target for Nemo and those we hear instructing him on what pieces to gather up and take.

What seems like a fairly cut and dry job for this thief becomes a fight for survival when a mechanical failure traps him inside its doors, his cronies hanging up on him, and no escape visible or as he finds out, even possible. Of course he panics, initially tries everything, pounding on doors, calling for help, even watching the security camera images for signs of life outside. That will include a cleaning woman, a guard, but no way to get their attention. This has become a locked fortress for Nemo, who finds the real truth of what his needs are, his will to survive, and so much more all tied to the art that becomes the only thing to cling to in a surrealist world where days turn into weeks and weeks into months. We see his desperate actions begin to turn this moneyed environment into a disaster zone, almost like a deserted island of wealth from which there is no exit. His own will to live resulting into the creation of a tower of furniture that becomes his own work of art, or path to freedom (??).

This is the kind of movie that is hard to describe as it is simply a one man show, a human being who finds himself in unwanted and extraordinary circumstances in a place that on the surface many people would love to live in themselves. It is a world defined by art, and the apartment is as much a character in it as Nemo. We even can understand the personality of the unknown and unseen person who “lives” there just through his vast collection of art. But it is all seen through the eyes of a man who was trying to take it, and now cannot get away.

This would be a great role for any actor, but Dafoe seems right on so many levels , taking us into a fight for his life in a weird setting that puts him in a sort of twilight zone. It is also a role with little dialogue, mostly acted silently in addition to those moments where he talks to himself. It is a tour de force and Dafoe is more than up to the task in an odd sort of companion piece to his Oscar nominated role as Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate, another film in which art takes a leading role with the actor himself.

Katsoupis makes it all watchable, essentially taking an esoteric idea and turning it into a psychological thriller about survival, an art film all about art and its meaning in our lives. The cinematography captures the cold confines of the trap he endures, and the work of production designer Thorsten Sabel is key, as is the actual art curation here by Leonardo Bigazzi, much of it commissioned specifically for the film.

Producers are Giorgos Karnavas, Mancos Kantis, and Dries Phlypo.



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