LFF 2022: Inland – Review

Release Date – TBC, Cert – N/A, Run-time – 1 hour 22 minutes, Director – Fridtjof Ryder

After returning home after time in a psychiatric hospital a young man (Rory Alexander) begins to delve into his past and disappeared mother.

There’s a divide between the naturalistic and the arthouse within writer-director Fridtjof Ryder’s feature debut Inland. While we enter into the more direct nature of the world in the well-settled first act, seeing Rory Alexander’s ‘Man’ re-entering his home in Gloucester after what seems like time in a psychiatric ward. He meets the friendly figure of Mark Rylance’s mechanic Dunleavey who takes him in, although the impression is that everything might not be as it seems. However, as the film goes on it asks whether this is actually the case with Rylance’s character or the protagonist.

We follow ‘Man’ – as he’s named in the credits – as he begins to lightly delve into past whilst searching for clues to his disappeared mother. As we delve more into this element of the narrative tones of mystery and ambiguity become more prominent. They contrast with the more naturalistic tones which open the film causing it to feel as if you’re settling into an almost different film.

There are still some good moments dotted here and there within the short 82 minute run-time, however not quite enough to truly lift from the more ambiguous moments where you’re not sure what to make of what’s going on. This particularly being the case with the third act which features more extended moments along these lines, especially in the build-up to the ending. It removes most of the interest in the lines of mystery which are set up beforehand meaning that the more the film goes on the more it seems to push you away.

It’s a shame for something which starts off with quiet promise through the subtle mystery of the naturalistic tones and performances of the opening stages. There may be moments throughout which help to bring back interest as they go back to this style and continue a more direct style of light narrative in this manner. There’s even some engagement within the initial leanings into more less-obvious stylings, however the more the film walks into this territory, especially in the final stages, the more it seems to lose itself, and the viewer’s attention.

While it may start off with quiet interest through the more direct naturalism the more Inland leans into its more ambiguous arthouse stylings the more it distances itself from the viewer, despite occasional patches which bring back the former.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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