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An art thief breaks into a New York City penthouse and is unable to get back out. What follows are days or maybe weeks of alternating between desperate efforts to leave, philosophical wallowing, and clumsy attempts to create some sort of altar/site-specific art installation from the shattered fixtures and objects of the wrecked domicile.

Willem Dafoe is a national treasure who has littered his long career with fearless, groundbreaking roles. He’s the only living human we see aside from building employees and residents viewed via closed-circuit camera or in the thief’s hallucinations and dreams. I’d say Dafoe could make a dramatic reading of a phone book compelling, but I have no clue why he wanted to be involved with this movie. 

Perhaps as an ultra high-end escape room experience this might be exciting to try, but as a viewer watching from the outside, it’s excruciatingly dull. Filmed in the sleek icy style of a luxury car ad, it is just about as emotionally involved as one. There’s some pretentious mumbo-jumbo about how art is the only thing that’s truly eternal, but this movie is hardly art. It’s more like proof of a dying society. Toward the end, the Romans built vomitoria—if they’d had digital cameras, this could have been one of the results. R, 105 min.

Music Box Theatre, wide release in theaters

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