A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's hard to say exactly what this movie is really about; the ending is ambiguous. Wealth and inequality could be themes, given the contrast of the character and his opulent surroundings. But perhaps the most likely theme is one about the true nature of art. Can art exist anywhere, or does it have to be in a certain form?
Positive Role Models
The main character shows some impressive carpentry skills, using found objects in the penthouse to make the tools that he needs to try to escape. He may inspire some viewers to brush up on similar life-saving skills, but on the whole it comes down to the fact that he's a thief, and everything he does is for himself. We don't know much about him, and he has no real redemption or consequences.
The main character is a White man; very few other people are seen in the movie. Another White man appears in a dream/hallucination. Perhaps the second most important character is a woman housekeeper (Belgian actor Eliza Stuyck). She's seen in security camera images and in a hallucination, though viewers never hear her speak. Some of her co-workers, also seen in security camera images, are coded as Latino.
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Violence & Scariness
Character accidentally cuts hand with knife. Fall from high place. Injury. Minor bloody wounds. Character does something to teeth/lip at bathroom sink; he starts bleeding, and blood drips on the floor. Hallucination includes a character's head being bashed on a bathroom sink. Character is shocked by what seems to be a dead body, but it's fake (an art installment). An injured pigeon dies outside the window; the bird's body deteriorates, and maggots are shown. Character kills pet fish for food; they're seen gulping for oxygen on countertop.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Explicit female nudity and graphic sex acts depicted in paintings. Character briefly watches scrambled pornography on TV (audio heard). Main character wears only underwear. Character hallucinates that a woman is with him; she comes close and lingers, as if to kiss him, but she never does.
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Several uses of "f--k," plus "ass," "damn," "hell," "oh God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character drinks various wines and liquors throughout. Character on security camera smokes cigarettes several times.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Inside is a thriller about an art thief (Willem Dafoe) who gets trapped in a penthouse during a job. It's equal parts survival/escape thriller and existential parable, and while many viewers will enjoy its aesthetic and its puzzles, it's not for everyone. There's some violence, including cuts and injuries, blood and bloody wounds, unsettling hallucinations, a dead pigeon covered in maggots, a dying fish, and other off-putting imagery (including urine and a large pile of feces). Expect to see artwork that depicts explicit female nudity and graphic sex acts. The main character also appears in his underwear and briefly watches scrambled pornography on TV (the sound is heard). Language includes a few uses of "f--k," plus "ass," "damn," "hell," and "oh God." The main character drinks various wines and liquors throughout; another person seen on a security camera feed smokes cigarettes several times. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Definitely not a standard Hollywood escape/survival thriller, this arty drama/thriller alternates between moments in which we root for the character to succeed and unsettling existential passages. Directed by Greek-born filmmaker Vasilis Katsoupis, Inside is beautifully designed, including every nook and cranny of the lavish, opulent penthouse, which is filled with actual works of art. Eventually the penthouse itself is turned into a work of art after Nemo moves furniture, leaves rubbish everywhere, and even sketches on the walls.
Multiple-Oscar nominee Dafoe does some impressive heavy lifting here; he's the only character on-screen, although viewers hear voices and see images of others through security cameras. The scenes in which he cleverly finds ways to survive and works through a lengthy escape are right out of a traditional thriller, solid and entertaining. But the other scenes and sequences -- the hallucinations, a rambling joke, passing the time, and other strange stuff -- can be off-putting. And, as Inside gets closer to its conclusion, it becomes more and more opaque, bristling with possible hidden meanings but difficult to pin down. Some viewers will enjoy pondering it, but others will understandably be frustrated or annoyed.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.