Friday, October 17, 2014
"Open Windows" Review - Written by Jim Herling
I'm a fan of any movie that tries to do something different with the film medium. For example, I loved the found footage style when it started, before it got played to death. So when I heard about Open Windows and how it was filmed and edited, I was excited as hell for it, regardless of plot. Because for the majority of the movie, all the action happens in windows open on the main character's laptop screen. How interesting is that? And, more importantly, does it make for a good movie?
The answer is definitely yes. Open Windows is written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo (Daniel Mas is credited as a consultant writer) and centers around a "superfan" who wins a contest to meet the object of his adoration and is instead sucked into a complicated plot involving cyberhacking, torture, blackmail, kidnapping, and murder. And there's also a great extended chase scene thrown in for good measure. Elijah Wood is the superfan, Nick Chambers, and he's great as the panicked and confused cat's paw of the film's villain. The object of Nick's adoration is actress Jill Goddard, played by former adult film star Sasha Grey; her performance is about as good as her former occupation would lead you to expect. The villain of the piece is a man who is mostly unseen throughout the movie named Chord, played by Neil Maskell. Maskell does a great job of being truly menacing with just his voice, as for a good 90% of his performance he's just a voice on a video call. The cast is rounded out by a fun trio of hackers played by Iván González, Adam Quintero, and Vigalando himself. The cast and acting are all solid, as is the story, which manages to be entertaining and suspenseful and has a great twist.
But the real attraction of Open Windows, obviously, is in the way it's presented. As I mentioned earlier, the whole movie plays out on windows open in Nick's laptop, and a bit at the end on a handheld device. There are video chat windows, operating system windows, map windows, the list goes on. The whole story is told that way, and it makes it very interesting. Often you have to keep your eyes on many windows at once to get the full effect, and the full effect makes for a very intriguing film experience. Between the experience, the cast, and the story, Open Windows earns itself a 3.5 out of 5 stars from me.
Open Windows will begin a limited theatrical release on November 7th and is available everywhere on VOD now.