Starring: Jason Segal, Jesse Plemons, and Lily Collins.
Directed By: Charlie Macdowell
Where I Watched It: Netflix
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Provided By: Descriptive
The Plot: A stranger (Segal) is in the middle of burglarizing a vacation home for a billionaire (Plemons), when he randomly shows up with his wife (Collins), and the situation gets sticky. Now the stranger must find a way out of this house with his freedom intact, but will everyone leave alive?
What Works: I really loved the score for this film. It’s very reminiscent of films like North By northwest, which is why I think some are throwing this unfair Alfred Hitchcock comparison at Windfall. The truth is, very few things since Hitchcock would actually stand up to his top tier titles, that’s why he is who he is. So a random Netflix film is, of course, not Hitchcockian. Why did you think it would be?
Even though the best thing about the film is its score, I thought the actors did solid work. I thought Jesse Plemons owned this role far more than he did in The Power Of The Dog, and is the most interesting of the three. It is nice to see Segal doing dramatic work again, because when he does, he’s surprisingly good at it. I don’t love this as much as perhaps The Discovery, but he’s good here. And it’s nice to just see anyone challenge Lily Collins dramatically, since Emily In Paris is just a giant marshmallow.
I may not have been blown away by this film, but I didn’t hate it. I’m just not sure it brought anything new to this sub-genre of home invasion, single location film, though I’m sure this was super easy to film during the pandemic.
What Doesn’t Work: Like I said, the film is restricted in nature to a limited set and characters, and though it strives to bring meaning and interest into these characters, there’s still this hint of randomness that it can’t overcome the same way Knock Knock did. It never rises to the challenge, it’s never too twisty, or challenging for its audience. And honestly, because of that, for a film that runs just over 90 minutes, it still felt long.
There are too many scenes where no one does anything. I know the twist at the end might throw some people. I’ve heard some say it wasn’t earned, or they missed the signals of motivation, but I got it. it just didn’t surprise me, or blow me away. it was always in my mind as the characters seemed to be developing in a certain direction, and I’m not surprised the film ended how it did.
I think the film is just slightly on the recommend side, but not really because of the film itself. Any film that boasts four different hands having touched the script, especially for one so basic, it doesn’t surprise me that this is what we got.
The Blind Perspective: It’s rather an easy film to narrate. there are only four humans in the entire film, and really only three worth mentioning. So, it becomes really easy to track and follow the characters and who is talking. And because of the hostage type scenario, they are frequently together in the same room, with very little entrances and exits to catch, or location changes. And of course, not many costumes to describe either. So instead, they went really hard on describing this house, the land its on, and your singular set that you spend the whole movie with. I really felt like I could navigate my way around this fictional place, like I was on a home tour. Very well done. Great attention to detail.
Final Thoughts: Windfall isn’t reinventing the wheel. it’s the wheel you get off the rack at the tire store, the brand you’ve never heard of, but it’s a wheel, and your sure it’ll do. I hope at the end of the year, those voting for awards at least bother to discuss the score for Windfall in the conversation, but otherwise, I won’t remember this film in five years.
Final Grade: C+