Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Writer: Nacho Vigalondo
Starring: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell
Run time: 100 mins
Out 27th April UK From Koch Media
Nick Chambers (Wood) wins an online competition, the prize? A dinner with his favourite actress Jill Goddard (Grey). But after Jill abruptly cancels, he is given the opportunity to spy on her via his laptop; very soon Nick is dragged into a dangerous world full of computer hacking, kidnapping and even, murder!
At the start of Open Windows we are given a look at the film within the film, “Dark Sky: The Third Wave”, and there’s a moment in which Jill Goddard’s character utters the line “Stop thinking!” well if you want to really enjoy this film and it’s frankly ludicrous plot then that’s exactly what you need to do, switch your brain off, sit back and enjoy the ride.
That’s normally an excuse people use to defend bad films isn’t it? You’ve got to turn your brain off to enjoy it. Well Open Windows isn’t a bad film, in fact I quite enjoyed it, but it’s just that the plot becomes so outlandish towards the end that to question it is completely pointless, the film is still an intriguing and tense thriller and I’m not going to chastise it just because the writer dared to dream a little bigger.
Open Windows is largely based around a gimmick, the gimmick being that we barely ever leave Nick Chambers’ laptop screen, we see most of the action through the “open windows” on his desktop, it’ a gimmick that for the most part works, it’s stretched in parts but it never outstays it’s welcome. It’s a very interesting and original twist on the found-footage genre. Oh and just something that I need to point out to UKHS readers, this is not a horror film, so don’t watch this expecting to see scares or gore, you have been warned.
The performances are all pretty solid, Wood plays the geeky and panicky Nick perfectly, Neil Maskell is spot-on as the fiendish villain Chord and Sasha Grey stand out as actress Jill, there are many layers to her performance and she effortlessly switches from an apparently vacuous movie star, to a damsel in distress and then finally to someone who is very capable and cool in the face of danger.
Director Nacho Vigalondo also tries to inject the film with a bit of depth and explore themes such as privacy, technophobia, misogyny, exploitation and fame. While not all of these themes are examined in nearly enough detail, it’s still nice to see Vigalondo try to add a bit of weight to what is quite clearly a simple popcorn flick.
Open Windows is a film very much of its time, it shows a very distorted and disturbing reflection of the modern world. As I said before, you will have to switch your brain off to accept some of the crazier aspects of the plot but once you do you’ll find a film that is a suitable tension builder and one that I personally enjoyed.