Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Inside You Out

Author(s): James Somerton
Location: NS, Canada

“Inside You Out"

Directed By: Oliver Stone
Written By: James Somerton
Edited By: Hank Corwin

Principal Cast:

Al Pacino as President Richard Strom
Christopher Walken as Robert Strong
Kevin Bacon as Thomas Long
Laurie Metcalf as First Lady Virginia Strom
Kristen Alderson as Sarah Washington
Kate Winslet as Clarrissa Washington

Tagline: “A Murderer, A Rapist, The President…Three Sick and Twisted Bastards”

Synopsis: President Richard Strom has just begun his fifth year in office after barely scraping by in the last election. He is also beginning the third year of a war that nobody wants to fight. America is waging a war against a murderous regime in Egypt where hundreds of American soldiers are being slaughtered every month. The majority of the country wants their troops taken home but Strom refuses to even entertain the notion, at least not in public. But in private, his wife Virginia can see that what’s really tearing him up inside isn’t the countless dead Americans but the ever-plummeting poll numbers.

Thomas Long has just gotten word that his son has died in Egypt but he can’t go to the funeral because he’s hiding away from the FBI. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been hunting Thomas for three weeks now; ever since he killed three Republican senators who voted “yes” on the bill that sent his son off the get killed in the desert. He has only one more person to take out before he turns himself in.

Robert Strong is sitting in his 2006 Chevy Monte Carlo listening to the radio when he hears about an assassination attempt on his boss, Richard Strom. He has something far more important to tend to though. Sarah Washington has just gotten out of school on this freezing January day. Her mom won’t be picking her up today so she’ll have to walk home. He follows her quite discretely until she walks in her front door. There he waits for twenty-three minutes and then knocks at her door.

President Richard Strom is in critical condition in Georgetown University Medical Center. His campaign manager, Clarrissa Washington, is in the lobby doing damage control; talking to the press and assuring them that the president “will be just fine”. After about an hour of doing this she goes outside for a break and to check in on her daughter, Sarah. There’s no answer at home.

When Sarah is found she is tied up on her mothers bed, bleeding from between her legs. A man in a suit and ski mask had raped her. Thomas Long is sentenced to life in prison for the attempted assassination of President Richard Strom, who recovered in a little over two months. In that time, the vice president, Robert Strong, had taken over for him. Sarah’s rapist was never found, the men who killed Thomas Long’s son were never brought to justice, and by the end of the year another two thousand American men and women had died in Egypt.

What the press would say:

Oliver Stone has directed one of the best thrillers I have seen in recent years. “Inside You Out” blurs the lines of good and evil in a way that left me confounded in the end. Stone has assembled an all-star cast that go so deep into their rolls that you sometimes forget that you’re watching the likes of Al Pacino, Kate Winslet, and Kevin Bacon. Pacino plays President Richard Strom, a man so overwhelmed by the events of his presidency that the only person he can really talk to about them with is his wife. In one scene, Pacino, along with his on screen wife Laurie Metcalf, talk about the events in Egypt (an obvious parable to the war in Iraq). In this scene we see a president drop his façade as a strong leader and break down. Metcalf’s eruption into angry at the fact that her husband could care less about the men and women dying and is more worried about his poll numbers sent chills up my spine. Her performance is staggering, such a departure from her work on TV in “Desperate Housewives” and “Roseanne”. Christopher Walken’s turn as a rapist vice-president nearly made me sick. He is so clean and sadistic in his scenes with young actress Kristen Alderson that, even with a black mask over his face, he makes you hate him. When it is revealed that he is, in fact, the vice president I heard a gaspe rise up in the theater. Kevin Bacon plays a man who just lost his son to the war in Egypt and got his revenge by killing three of the senators who voted to send more troops to the war. The scene in which he attempts to assassinate President Strom is pure tension for eleven minutes and thirty-one seconds. The scene is dragged out so much that it should have gotten boring but Bacon’s fantastic performance kept it interesting the entire time as we listen to President Strom’s speech on why we must “Stay the Course in Egypt”. And Kate Winslet is magnificent as President Strom’s campaign manager who’s daughter is Robert Strong’s victim. She is one of the only mature females in the cast and loses a lot of screentime to her male counterparts but she makes the most of her limited screen time. She is so perfectly composed when working with the president but you get to see her utterly fall apart at the discovery of her violated daughter. And Kristen Alderson pulls off a great performance as Winslet’s daughter. She’s so sympathetic but strong in her battle with her attacker. There’s one hell of an actress in her. The screenplay, written by Oscar Nominee James Somerton, Weeves together all these plots flawlessly and compliments Stone’s directorial style perfectly. And Oliver Stone’s direction completely draws us into the world of corrupt and terrible people and those who are affected by them.

Best Picture
Best Director – Oliver Stone
Best Original Screenplay – James Somerton
Best Actor - Al Pacino
Best Supporting Actor – Christopher Walken
Best Supporting Actress – Kate Winslet
Best Supporting Actress – Laurie Metcalf

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