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The I Inside (2004)

When you don’t have a memory, how can you remember who to trust?

Directed by:

Roland Suso Richter

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 90 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom, United States

Ever get that feeling when you wake up in the morning and – just for a split second, mind – you can’t work out where you are or what day it is? Well, that’s the way Simon Cable (Ryan Phillippe) feels for pretty much the entirety of ‘The I Inside’.

When he opens his sleepy wee eyes in the opening scene, Simon is lying in a hospital bed and the doc by his side (Stephen Rea) says that he has some bad news for him – namely that he died last night (personally I’d take the use of the past-tense word “died” as fairly good news if I was – as Simon clearly is – still alive, as it would mean I’d made a pretty bloody remarkable recovery, but I digress). Having been resuscitated after whatever it is that happened to him, Simon discovers that he can’t remember anything about the last two years – meaning that his wife (Piper Perabo) is a complete stranger to him and so, for that matter, is his girlfriend (Sarah Polley). Still, at least he’s able to work out that somewhere along the line he’s been a bit naughty.

From then on it’s all about piecing the bits and bobs of his life back together, with the good doctor’s fairly unimaginative jigsaw analogy helping him out along the way. Countless trips back and forth in time (which could be for real or, then again, could be all in his noggin) reveal some startling facts about those forgotten years, and pretty soon the whole thing turns into a predictable race against the clock (or, to be more precise, the calendar).

‘The I Inside’ relies heavily on its time-jumping gimmick in an attempt to cover up the fact that the basic story being told just isn’t particularly good. But, instead of saving the movie, all that to-ing and fro-ing between the years 2000 and 2002 only starts to grow tedious, and German director Roland Suso Richter just can’t find enough momentum to carry on building up the level of tension that he kicks the film off with.

Having previously directed the highly-rated ‘Der Tunnel’, it’s clear that Richter is a guy with a fair bit of talent up his sleeve, and I can’t really fault the performances of any of the lead players. But writer Michael Cooney – who also penned the massively superior ‘Identity’ – delivers a higgledy-piggledy screenplay with very little going for it. Indeed, the only thing that kept me holding on until the end was the expectation that there would be a big, shocking finale which would make it all worthwhile – but it doesn’t come, and instead the movie simply peters out.

It's Got: Known Scouser Stephen ‘Snatch’ Graham giving it his best American accent.

It Needs: Simon to ask to see a newspaper at one point or another. It might help with the date?

DVD Extras Some less-than-fascinating interviews with Richter, Phillippe and Perabo (just watch her repress her own squirming as she desperately tries to answer the question of what attracted her to the role without using the word “money”), a trailer, some stills, and production notes. Version reviewed The I Inside (Amazon UK) see also The I Inside (Amazon.com DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Summary

It tries to turn you inside-out, but it’s all for nothing.

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