Willem Dafoe steals the film and the art

Edward Settle
Edward Settle

Willem Dafoe is a great actor, legendarily intense and committed to his roles.

If you need a reminder, “Inside” is the movie for you. It’s all Dafoe, all the time — basically a one-man show, with the exception of some brief dream sequences — and he is customarily all in on his performance.

The film itself, directed by Vasilis Katsoupis, is similarly intense but not as appealing; without an actor like Dafoe at its center (and margins and everywhere else), it would be unwatchable torture. With him, it’s more like watchable torture, easier to admire than enjoy.

Dafoe plays Nemo, a thief dropped off by helicopter at a luxury New York penthouse apartment, stocked to the gills with museum-quality modern art. Not just any thief, Nemo, he graces us with a VoiceOver introduction where he recalls a teacher’s question when he was a child: If your house was burning down, what would you save?

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