Sunday, December 19, 2010

Movie Appraisal: The I Inside (2003)

The I Inside is a psychological thriller. It really is. I know I've been a little careful about naming genres, but this movie is in no way a horror film, but a thriller film? Yeah. That pretty much hits it on the button. It's a good film too, full of something most movies today don't seem to have. But I'll get to that. I'll get to everything.

The movie starts off with a man waking up in a hospital. That's always a bad sign in movies, especially movies like this. It makes them easy to predict. Hospitals seem to be the place to go for these types of movies. I guess it makes sense, but still... these kinds of psychological films are so easy to predict. The story moves on from there as the main character Simon (played by Ryan Phillippe) goes forwards and backwards through time seemingly trying to figure out his own mystery.

The acting here is phenomenal. It's incredibly good, but also feels very strange. Everything feels off. The way the characters act feels strange. They don't exactly seem like real people through the way they're acting alone. But it makes it a fun ride, seeing how they act, and how it is so different from what a person in a normal movie might do.

The character of Anna (Piper Perabo) is one I think I should linger on for a few lines. Her character is incredibly mysterious and really kind of creepy. The way she acts is both off-putting and far away from what her character looks like. There is a disconnect there and it is fantastic to watch. It's understandable once the end of the film comes around, but it is fascinating to watch throughout.

Not to give any spoilers away, but this movie reminds me a lot of Stay and Sublime, both of which I reviewed in October. It reminds me of Stay because some of the plot elements almost seem copy-pasted between the two movies. It reminds me of Sublime because of the hospital setting. The I Inside is nowhere near as horrific as Sublime, but with both being in hospitals, it's hard not to see some similarities.

The film's plot is a gorgeous and anachronistic flow. It always feels subtly off, but it tells the story it's meant to tell. Everything works together and flows beautifully. Some of the things I'd like to compliment most are the gorgeous cuts through time. It's done so well and so nicely that I really did enjoy those parts.

The movie itself wasn't amazingly engrossing. Simon is a hard character to like simply because of the way he looks, like some reject from a pretty boy reality show. The main female character of Claire (Sarah Polley) is also hard to like for the same reason. The film feels like a soap opera in parts, especially when those characters share time on screen together, but it makes sense that it would, and despite the fact that both of those characters are fairly unlikable, I found both their stories fascinating nonetheless.

Then I noticed Stephen Rea. I like this guy. I think he's pretty awesome. He was in The Reaping though, so that takes down his credibility some. Even though he was in that awful film though, I still like him. He does a good job here. I enjoyed his performance, even if he did seem like he was phoning it in at points.

The filmography of this movie is all over the place. I liked the time transitions and some of the "gorier" shots (even though there really is no gore in this film) come off quite well. But when characters are simply speaking or nothing is really going on at all, the shooting style is strange and off-putting. It really took me away from the film.

The I Inside is the kind of movie I like in theory, but not usually in practice. I did happen to like this film. It's not the best film out there, but the acting is solid. The story is one I liked even if it is way overdone. I didn't love the ending because it made the whole film pointless. The ending was a bit like the ending to Stephen King's Dark Tower series, except that there was no payoff, no real reason to watch the film at all. You can watch the first ten minutes of the film, shut it off, and would have never missed anything. It's annoying when a film does that. So, yeah, this film lost some points in the clichéd ending.

Oh, one thing I don't think I've ever mentioned in a movie before, and it needs to be mentioned in this one, is the writing. The writing was singlehandedly the best feature of this film. Whomever wrote this film did a phenomenal job. The words flowed from the characters and felt real regardless of how the actors took it. Half of why I complimented the acting so much is because the writing was just so good. Two characters that seemed particularly well-written were Travis, the orderly, and Mr. Travitt (Stephen Lang), the heart transplant patient. Those two characters were funny and witty and simply awesome. I would watch a film about their adventures together, doing stuff and kicking crime in the face or something. It would be so awesome. Then Travitts has a heart attack and Travis swoops in with snarky comments easily saving his life. Yeah... oh... um... I'm supposed to be reviewing this movie, not writing fan-fiction for it...

Anyway, this is a good film, not as good as Stay for instance, but not as bad as Sublime either. It's somewhere in the middle, and it was a nice film to watch, even if it wasn't perfect.

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