To truly appreciate what's inside Inside, consider the difficulty in not turning this movie into melodramatic mush. Filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar is telling the real-life story of a Spanish quadriplegic (Javier Bardem) who is battling his family and the government to grant his final wish of euthanasia. Amenábar deftly uses death as a window on life, honestly examining what makes living worthwhile.
He uses the slow progression of Bardem's legal battles to ask the big questions. With a little help from composite characters, such as a lawyer sympathetic to his plight (Belén Rueda) and a factory worker who believes every life is sacred (Lola Dueñas), we get some answers, and, more importantly, we get some insight into this charming guy. Even with a limited canvas (he's basically in bed the entire movie), Bardem's infinitely nuanced and heartfelt portrayal provokes introspection--and Oscar chatter. Oh, yeah, and plenty of tears.
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