Concession Confession: I can feel that the people who made this movie like the same movies I do. So they decided to make their own and that they did without the talent, precision, complexity, and aptitude to make it all come together.
Logline: Anna Fox (Amy Adams) suffers from agoraphobia and is a depressive shut-in. When she witnesses the murder of the woman next door, she unravels herself and the truth in the process.
You’ve seen this movie before, if you’ve seen a thriller in the past 50 years you’ve seen some version of this movie. Unreliable narrator is crazy and then they end up being correct about a ridiculous or not and they were simply crazy all the time. No matter how much your premise differs, you’re ending, and payoff always falls into this sort of binary trap. That’s why I enjoyed Under the Silver Lake. Yes, it’s the same contrivances with amplified absurdity by the end; but the film’s conclusion is essentially that whether Andrew Garfield is right or wrong he’s still an outcast loser at the end of the day and nothing changes.
The Woman in the Window is a blatant offender of some bad movie sins. When lines of dialogue are there to establish some Chekhov’s guns. Fair enough you have to establish some puzzle pieces but when the lines read with the subtly of the Las Vegas sign and it’s not lines but entire scenes that feel forced…. yikes. The screenplay is drier than a box of raisins but it’s more tolerable than some the unwarranted “flavor” being tossed around in the editing bay. Seriously, what the hell were they thinking?
If you’re using a screen as a transition, you have to in some way translate that it’s a screen we’re looking at. You know that unless it’s part of the illusion like the beginning of Toy Story 2, but you want to give a clarity behind your visuals. You don’t just put an ethereal floating apple on the screen in the middle of nowhere, and then cut and be like yeah it was on an iPad. Just in generally visual clarity, demonstrating spacing in editing is the most amateur effort I’ve seen.
If you don’t know understand what I mean by demonstrating spacing, here’s an example. If you have a character and they’re running away from let’s, say the Xenomorph from Alien. They’re running down the hall and they turn around, quick cut to an extreme close-up of the Xenomorph. You’d figure that it’s directly behind you because that quick cut implies in that situation a POV. So when you show the xenomorph is on the other end of the hallway your editing/shot composition just feels like a mistake. I understand that it was probably to emphasize intensity and jump scare the audience, but it doesn’t work.
I think the issue at the heart of the movie is that The Woman in the Window, just does not control the tone at all. This movie might have a little bit of a thing for Hitchcock, maybe it was something about completely ripping off one of his movies and the ham-fisted “Easter eggs” (Like they didn’t just throw Jimmy Stewart on a big screen for no reason making it really hidden). I think Hitchcock has an incredibly unique mood that is of it’s time but timeless all the same. It’s kind of the eerie radio horror feeling to it, it’s suspenseful and gripping but embraces showmanship which allows some of the campier flicks like The Birds to work.
The Woman in the Window is kind of sloppy in what it wants to be. It leads me to believe that it is a to be taken seriously thriller. If that’s the case, it fails miserably. The final half an hour is a borderline comedy as I was on the verge of laughter multiple times. I mean maybe you’ve heard the joke, “caught in 4K” basically exposing someone in such a red-handed fashion that the picture is clear as 4K photography. Amy Adam essentially gets her smoking gun evidence in 144p, her proof is so pure insanity it’s hilarious that anyone would take her seriously. It seems like Wyatt Russell just feels bad for her and just tells her what she needs to know almost completely unrelated to her crack job detective work. Maybe I should say crack detective work, might be more appropriate.
They have a scene rip-off Shutter Island, while indulging in the premise of I’m Thinking of Ending Things while working a scene with the nuance of the opening of the Shazam movie. Maybe if I use enough convoluted movie references, I can paint a picture without spoiling any of the movies. This all taking place in a flashback which takes the lighting effect from the audition scene from La La Land because this film’s production philosophy can be scene as “extra AF”. During that they have a character repeat a question with intense echo, reverb and it sounds so bad. Maybe I didn’t pay attention for a second, but I was confused why a disembodied voice was speaking to our main character and I didn’t know if it was leading to the flashlight or not.
I mean wouldn’t be the first time, Amy Adam hears her neighbor from across the neighborhood without picking up the phone and gets her response to “hey. Stop watching us weirdo”. Things just kind of happen and then like most thrillers it turns into a horror movie at the end except instead of being scared I am…again on the verge of laughter.
SMALL SPOILER SECTION: They just couldn’t help themselves they had to give him the Jeff the Killer hoodie. I guess the school shooter trench coat was too brown nose. Also, I’m no doctor but I’m fairly sure a gardening tool halfway to your brain would do more damage than it did, at least would leave a bigger scare than it did at the end of the movie.
At the end of the day, Amy Adams I hope gets an Oscar one day. It’s not going to be this one or that absurd Hack Snyder bodybuilder movie. You want to watch this movie, watch Sightless, A film probably just as bad but at least it has some creative ideas with how the visual show the unreliable narrator character in that instance being blind. Heck watch Killer Sofa. It’s not even a sofa it’s a recliner chair and I still feel less betrayed than any hope I would have this would be anything better than a subpar effort. The recliner actually shows a wider range of emotion than most of the cast Woman in the Window. I hope the rumors are true that the Recliner chair from Killer Sofa is actually getting a three-picture deal as the Mobius chair in upcoming DC films. Glad that chair is finally getting its big break to be in a major tentpole film. That’s it, what else to say except thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the movies.