R E V I E W – M O V I E
One of the most anticipated movies of 2021, The Woman in the Window, was released last week on Netflix. But to my disappointment, the wait hasn’t been rewarded. And it hasn’t been a very pleasant experience to watch a star-studded project turn into a mediocre try-too-hard thriller with a loose plot.
The Woman In the Window has been talked about for the last 3 years. The project has been subject to many post-production controversies and after a poor test screening, it was re-shot and re-edited. The film was due to arrive in October of 2019, but it got delayed for a year after Disney acquired Fox. And then when its theatrical release was put on a hold, Disney sold the movie rights to Netflix during the pandemic, with the release date finally landing in May 2021.
Based on the 2018 novel of the same name by pseudonymous author A. J. Finn, which was both a commercial & critical hit, The Woman in the Window centres around the character Anna, an agoraphobic child psychologist who finds herself keeping vigilance over a newly moved picture-perfect family across the street through the windows of her New York City home. One day, she inadvertently witnesses a brutal crime and that changes everything. Her life turns upside down and shocking secrets are revealed.
That is the premise this movie has to offer and it is a pretty promising one for a twisty thriller. It’s directed by Joe Wright (Darkest Hour, Anna Karenina, Atonement), scripted by multi-award-winning playwright Tracy Letts, with a score by Danny Elfman and a killer cast that includes Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julianne Moore, Letts, Wyatt Russell, and so on. So, it’s no wonder why it came as a shock to see the film turn out to be so disappointing.
The primary problem with this movie is its script and the directors’ incapability to maintain the suspense a thriller requires throughout the film. The script is so dull that this 100-minute-long movie feels like forever, which in turn makes the editing department’s work look bad. And you won’t find an answer to the mystery of what the filmmakers wanted to make out of this film. Themes from Alfred Hitchcock’s films are very evident. But pretty sure if Alfred Hitchcock were alive, he wouldn’t like the homage as it was executed with below-average direction. There were scopes for character development, but the director didn’t make much use of it. The filmmakers have wasted the promise offered by its many interesting characters and stretched its twists far beyond the point of tension. The climax is so dramatic that it becomes funny at one point.
The positives from this film include the near-perfect acting from the cast and the cinematography of Bruno Delbonnel. Amy Adams plays the lead in this movie. Her portrayal of an agoraphobic psychiatrist who doesn’t step outside her home has been phenomenal. Her character deals with trauma, anxiety, and paranoia throughout the movie, and Amy Adams delivers a strong enough performance to establish the unreliable narrator very early in the film. Her character thrives throughout, and this was probably the only character that triumphed over the audience’s hearts. Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, and all the other characters delivered powerful performances but they had far too little screen-time to have any strong impact. And to follow up on Bruno Delbonnel’s beautiful cinematography, he kept it pretty simple throughout the film and was able to capture the paranoid world in the eyes of an agoraphobic person.
By and large, The Woman in the Window is not worth the time and wait. This will be the newest entry to the long list of poorly executed & disappointing Netflix thrillers. This is just another example of the fact that you can assemble the best technical production team and some of the most amazing actors on the planet — and still make a flop that nobody knows how to fix.
Md. Takrim Hossain is a life-long Liverpool fan & a proud Slytherin who spends the day annoying people talking about Geopolitics and Military history and the night by himself, flipping through the pages of Asterix while listening to Britpop and maybe re-watching a classic David Lynch or a Wong Kar-wai masterpiece.