Friday, March 17, 2023

Inside in 300 Words

Inside has one of those log-lines that sells the movie easy as pie: Willem Dafoe plays an art-thief cat burglar who gets locked inside a luxury apartment mid-job who must, with no way to contact the outside world, find some way to survive for as long as possible. There's no running water and a very small supply of food - think a jar of olives and some pasta (a refrigerator situation any New Yorker recognizes) - and the probability that the billionaire owner won't be home for weeks, months, ages. And that's it. So basically if you're a person who would want to stare at Willem Dafoe's endlessly fascinating face for ninety minutes, this is a movie for you. And I am one of those people! Like Willem there's not a lot of meat on the bone, but there's enough.

The most interesting aspect of the film for me was the film's sly commentary on Modern Art -- the apartment is filled with art, art art everywhere. But it's more mausoleum than museum. It's all airlessly tucked away in the sky with nobody to look at it. And Willem's relationship to all of that art, as a viewer who's literally forced to view, is the real arc of the picture. It's the difference between looking at a Van Gogh for thirty seconds, just snapping a selfie of yourself in front of it and moving on, and sitting in front of the same Van Gogh for an hour and really truly looking into it. Art will creep itself into you if you let it. It will change you, and you will change it. It should be symbiotic. But like the joke that was Edward Norton and the Mona Lisa in Glass Onion we've allowed the wealthy to steal that interaction, that life-force, from us. 

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