The I Inside (2004)
22nd April 2005
When the wealthy Simon Cable awakens in a hospital suffering from amnesia, he is horrified to discover that following a road accident he can no longer account for the last two years of his life. The fact that he is married to a woman he can't even remember and that his brother apparently died in a same car accident which put him in the coma in the first place, are tremendous shocks to his system and he is struggling to catch up with his new reality.
Matters aren't help by the strange encounter with another, yet unidentified woman, which leaves him in a drastically confused mental state that worries his medical team. Yet there is a further, even more shocking development for Simon to deal with when he's given a sedative to help him sleep. Waking again, this time he finds himself in a different bed, a different ward, albeit the same hospital with the same doctors and patients, but two years previous to his last awakening. However, this time he is unmarried and his brother has just had his accident. Is he simply dreaming, suffering brain damage from the accident or is there something much stranger going on around him?
The picture is deliberately subdued with some understated and plain colours throughout which results in plenty of opportunities for problems with quality issues. Fortunately, it passes the DVD encoding test with ease as the image remains sharp with a high level of detail and excellent black levels throughout. Given its near bleached appearance there are no problems with contrast levels whilst there are no signs of either artifacting or outlining. The print is also clean with no signs of dust specks or other forms of print damage with grain kept to a minimum. All in all, it's a surprisingly good transfer with some nice special effects on a very tight budget.
The 448 Kbps Dolby Digital soundtrack is reasonably busy in the surround department, with some clever ambient effects to grab your attention at the least expected moment, whilst the dialogue in the centre and front channels is surprisingly poor and rather understated. Trying to find a comfortable listening level between both the front and rear channels is actually quite difficult to achieve without producing an occasional dramatic blast of sound to annoy the neighbours. However, if keeping the neighbours happy is not too much of an issue for you then, by all means, crank up the volume and enjoy.
After skipping through some annoying trailers for other Twentieth Century Fox titles such as Alien Vs Predator, Churchill: The Hollywood Years and the excellent House Of Flying Daggers to name but a few, we finally make it to the menu. Come on guys, if you really must advertise other films please add them as part of the extras or at least allow you to access the menu without having to skip through them all. Still, at least the equally annoying anti-piracy trailer is missing.
Once you've finally made it to the menu you'll find it pleasantly laid out and impressively, but simply, animated and scored. However, extras wise it's all a bit of a disappointment, although given it's small independent nature it's lack of detailed extras can be somewhat forgiven. Still, other than the interviews, the rest of the extras have a distinct padding odour to them.
And it is the three rather short interviews which make up the main extras on the disc, and given that they are such short interviews of little or no interest, or with any subtitles for the hard of hearing, it is not hard to see just how poor the extras on this disc are. Even the picture quality is rather below par, resembling something shot with a cheap camcorder. Still, I'm always interested to hear what flannel the stars have to say about each other and how much praise the director has for the actors.
The three minute Interview with Ryan Phillippe has him discussing the usual things about his character and working with the director and other cast members, neither of which are of any particular interest or containing any useful information about the film. In the even shorter Interview with Piper Perabo, the same questions are asked and pretty much the same answers as Ryan Phillipe are reached, although to be fair he answers are slightly more interesting. The final two and half minute Interview with Director Roland Suso Richter is the best of the three, but again, it is far too short to get any real information and feel for the film from it. However, just remember not to watch these interviews until after the film otherwise too much of the plot could be revealed.
There's also a rather pointless Photo Gallery which is essentially a number of uninteresting stills captured from the film. It's hardly exciting stuff and definitely a case of some desperate padding material. The extras also include a collection of Production Notes. However, these cannot be viewed via your television as the DVD needs to be inserted into your computer and the notes read via Adobe Acrobat reader. If you don't have either then you're going to be a stuck. Fortunately, the reader is free to download from the internet so all you really need is a PC with a DVD-ROM drive. Things are rounded off with the International Trailer. Again, it's nothing exciting, but I always like to see the trailer on the disc, even if this one gives a little too much away in the process.
I always like a thinker of a film, especially one with a twist, and The i Inside does a good job of covering both events - and in my usual manner the penny dropped in the final few minutes of the film (accompanied by a large slap on forehead). However, unlike other similar styled films such as Donnie Darko or The Butterfly Effect this film is far too confusing to keep up with and an audio commentary from the director is really needed to help work out just where the heck he was trying to take the film. Still, I don't want to take anything away from what director Roland Suso Richter has produced here, but it's all been done before and it's all starting to get a tad boring and unoriginal.
Ok, it's clever but once seen it's unlikely to warrant repeat viewings. Never the less, if you like a film to make you think with a nice twist then it's certainly worth while considering The i Inside for rental. Just make sure you keep you brain in gear and put the beer to one side and stick to the soft drinks. You can save the hard stuff until after the film.
- Ryan Phillippe Interview
- Piper Perabo Interview
- Roland Suso Richter Interview
- International Trailer
- Photo Gallery
- Production Notes