ReviewsThe Woman in The Window review: Disappointing neo-noir thriller

The Woman in The Window review: Disappointing neo-noir thriller

Rating: 2.5/5

‘The Woman in The Window’ had everything going for it. It had a brilliant cast, a best selling novel to adapt from and even a decent budget. Unfortunately, the film is a second rate ‘Rear Window’ that underwhelming despite the advantages it had.

Story

The Woman in The Window is based on a hugely successful, best selling novel by the same name by debut writer, A.J Finn. The film follows Dr. Anna Fox (Amy Adams), a child psychologist who suffers from serious agoraphobia and has not been able to step outside her home in ten months.

Everyday she talks to her daughter and estranged husband, Ed (Anthonie Mackie), looks out her window and watches people go about their lives. She fears that her psychologist, Dr. Landy (Tracy Letts) is manipulating her and trying to control her.

Her life changes when a family moves to her neighbourhood. She realises that the father, Alistair (Gary Oldman) physically abuses his son, Ethan (Fred Hichinger) while his mother is unable to do anything about it. 

Things take a turn for the worse when she witnesses a murder in the Russell residence and gets obsessed with solving it.

Performances

Amy Adams is Anna Fox. Anna is an unstable, volatile woman in grieving plagued by several issues. Adams does an excellent job as Anna. She is a moody alcoholic who is also on pills. Adams portrays her ups and downs without making them feel unnatural. Her performance here is quite similar to the one in the HBO miniseries, Sharp Objects, yet quite distinct.

Julianne Moore plays Ethan’s mother. Moore spices up the scenes and brings in a much needed energy to the film. Her role is limited but very engaging nonetheless. Her volatility and brash nature play off well with Anna’s moodiness.

Gary Oldman plays Alistair Russell. Russell is a temperamental and erratic man. Oldman gives an intimidating performance. His presence adds an edge to The Woman in the Window that, unfortunately, is not utilised well.

Wyatt Russell plays David, Anna’s tenant who rents out the basement of her home and does odd chores to help her out. Russell is decent as David but when he is alongside exceptional talents like Adams, Moore and Oldman, his performance cannot match their level making him stick out.

Brian Tyree Henry plays Detective Little. Henry is most known for his excellent role in Donald Glover’s Atlanta as an upcoming rapper, Paper Boi. Henry adds a much needed calming presence in the film.

Positives

The Woman in The Window has a fantastic, detailed production design that reflects the characters and their state of mind. It pays a special emphasis to the colours.

The colour grading too is very well done and gives the film an unsettling aesthetic. Some of the more abstract visuals in the film are truly well done and well executed giving an insight of what the film could have potentially been like.

Negatives

The Woman in The Window is essentially a huge wasted opportunity by director Joe Wright. With a cast consisting of some of the most talented individuals in the industry like Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry, Anthonie Mackie and the Pulitzer prize winning writer, Tracy Letts adapting a critically and commercially successful book, the film should have been excellent.

It is clearly inspired from the 1940s neo noir films like Laura (1944), Spellbound (1945) It even attempts to be Hitchcockian and basically lifts the premise of Rear Window (1954). But the film fails to build any tension and usually resorts to jump scares.

The loud and over the top performances directed by Wright does not help. The frantic editing makes it all even worse.The music in the film is unsuitable and does not complement the film. It is very jarring and does not tonally match the scenes. 

The Woman in The Window has a lot of expository dialogue. It is blunt, abrupt and wooden. The third act of the film is truly terrible. The tropes used in the film make it predictable and the twists can be seen coming a mile away. The red herrings are weak and leave a lot of room for loopholes. The characters are underdeveloped and thus unlikable too.

For how loud and frantic the editing, sound and directing is in the film, The Woman in The Window is surprisingly dull.

Worth It?

The Woman in the Window is an uninspiring attempt at a Hitchcockian thriller that can be given a pass. Amy Adams’ excellent performance is what makes this mediocre thriller digestible.


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