A high-end art thief, Nemo, finds himself trapped in a luxurious, high-tech penthouse in Times Square, New York, after his heist doesn’t go as planned.

The synopsis of Inside intrigues us immediately, but the enthusiasm only sags during the 105 minutes of this camera that is more incoherent than engaging. Much more conventional than its broad outlines suggest, the feature film directed by Vasilis Katsoupis and scripted by Ben Hopkins unfortunately falls flat.

It’s a total one-man show for William Dafoe (The Lighthouse), who slips into the shoes of Nemo, an art thief who gets stuck in a luxury condo following an attempted burglary. His performance somehow breathes a soul into the character, which otherwise would not have interested us. But William Dafoe alone cannot save the film. The skilful close-ups of his captivating tense face do not compensate for the Swiss cheese script and the lack of narrative progression. The technical execution may be impeccable – soundtrack perfectly integrated into the story, consequent and licked photo direction – but the cinematographic object leaves us cold.

Throughout the film, Nemo struggles with a “smart” house, compulsively draws on the walls and defecates on the floor. The concept quickly becomes constraining, exhausting itself until it exhausts the spectator as much as the character. Too bad these long scenes do not arouse emotions or observations.

Inside seems to invite you to ask yourself big philosophical questions without ever delivering food for thought. The film is just too ineffective at communicating its ideas. Focused on the bleak suffering of Nemo, it misses a whole range of themes that the context would have allowed to judiciously explore. The premise hints at an existential drama about ultra-wealth, art, and freedom, but it all ultimately floats mindlessly to the surface.