Thursday, August 07, 2014

I Off the Ball

I have a rather long Netflix queue, between my Instant Queue and my list of discs. Sometimes, so much time will pass between when a movie goes in and when I actually get around to watching it that I forget where I heard of it or how it got in there. So it was with a movie I recently watched, The I Inside.

A psychological thriller from around a decade ago, The I Inside begins with a man waking up in a hospital following an accident. He has lost all memory not only of the accident, but of everything that has happened to him in the last two years. That time is quickly revealed to cover the death of his brother, and a marriage to a woman he doesn't know. And that's only the first of several shocks, when he begins to have not only flashes of his forgotten past, but actual time jumps to live inside those memories.

There's an interesting cast here. Ryan Phillippe stars as the man who has lost his past. Two women at the core of his mysterious situation are played by Sarah Polley (from the Dawn of the Dead remake) and Piper Perabo (star of Covert Affairs). Robert Sean Leonard (of House) appears as the main character's brother. All of them do a credible job of making rather overworked dialogue feel natural -- or, at least, natural enough for the heightened world of the film.

But things slowly begin to unravel. The plot of the film is intriguing, and the first several twists and turns spring into even more interesting directions. But then the illogic of it all begins to pile up too high. And as it does, the movie begins to resemble too many other films that covered similar territory in far more compelling ways.

All the while, you feel as though many of the people involved with making this film thought they were working on something far more important than they actually had. Director Roland Suso Richter's hyper-conscious camera placement awkwardly pulls you out of tense moments more than it adds to them. And Nicholas Pike's intrusive score is tracked in twice as loud as it needs to be.

No matter how interestingly things start out, they end in a too predictable, too ridiculous place. And The I Inside is too uneven a film not to survive a terrible ending. Even if you're a fan of "head games" movies, this one is sure to disappoint. I give it a C.

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