Richard Donner’s Inside Moves begins with a scene that evokes his own version of Metropolis, utilizing late 1970’s New York for a quiet, yet quite startling entreat into a character’s life that nearly ends as soon as the film starts. After a botched suicide attempt, Roary, played by Jon Savage, begins a slow recovery (time-compressed by a subtle montage, natch), including some self-medication at a nearby watering hole. There, Roary meets a cast of local characters, like bartender Jerry Maxwell, well acted by a very young David Morse. It turns out Jerry is an injured former basketball player, and he and Roary share more in common than just a hangout.
Inside Moves is treasured character film making from an era when slow moments weren’t boring, and unattractive characters weren’t Hollywood taboo. There’s a special texture to movies like Inside Moves that distinguish them from today’s faire. Not that it’s entirely a stock piece, because Richard Donner has accomplished a wonderful portrait of humanity here, at turns touching enough to draw in the heart, and ugly enough to push it away at times. Among its highs are an Oscar-nominated performance by Diana Scarwid, a great screenplay that celebrates the miracle of friendship in the face of adversity, and Richard Donner’s gift for dramatic directing.
Virtually begged-for by its longtime fans, Inside Moves arrives on DVD in wide screen format and should not be missed.