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Review: Inland – “Some stunning shots”

Mark Rylance was one of the shock stand-outs in 2022 with scintillating performances in both Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All and Graham Moore’s The Outfit. Following this resurgence, he stars in his first 2023 release Inland, the directorial feature debut of Fridjof Ryder, also starring Rory Alexander.

‘Inland’ is described as an ambitious genre-bending debut from Ryder, which explores themes of Horror and mystery. The word ‘ambitious’ definitely rings true with Ryder showing clear potential as a director with some stunning shots that deserve to be in a feature with twice the budget. The score is harrowing and ever-present throughout the 82 minutes, yet never overwhelms, peaking with a scene on a night out with his work colleague which goes awry. The performances of both Alexander and Rylance in particular are very solid with Rylance giving the ‘quirky’ performance that audiences have grown accustomed to within this stage of his career.

Ryder also contributed as the lead writer on the project, which unfortunately is where the feature falls flat. Tiring dialogue with an unclear tone throughout stretches the (what should feel short) 82-minute runtime. It almost feels like ‘Inland’ is confused as to what it wants to be. A drama feature of a man facing homelessness amidst the disappearance of his mother? A horror flick relating to the leading man’s solitude? The end product is an amalgamation of two or three half-completed films all pasted together to confusing effect.

Despite all this, I cannot say I am not intrigued by what Ryder does next. There is clear talent, and with a worthwhile script, he could produce something great. ‘Inland’ however is not that film, and for me it is a definite miss.

Inland will be released in UK cinemas on 16th June 2023. However, the film has been selected for this year’s BFI Presents programme at Vue: which means that on Wednesday 24 May there will be special preview screenings across the UK in 87 Vue cinemas

You can find me on Letterboxd.

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