The Woman in the Window should be better than it is. Joe Wright is one of the stronger directors of the last fifteen years or so (from 2005’s Pride and Prejudice as the starting point), ditto for Amy Adams as an actor. And the cast and crew (Tracy Letts writing, Danny Elfman score) assembled to support them here are extremely capable; Julianne Moore is here, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anthony Mackie, Brian Tyree Henry, and Wright even quickly calls in the favor from Gary Oldman (Wright directed Oldman to the Best Actor win in 2017 with The Darkest Hour). Oldman plays the Raymond Burr role here from Rear Window.
The Woman in the Window is like a De Palma film (who often got poor reviews)—technical and visual prowess on display—but flaws all over the place regarding narrative and characterizations. It oscillates between being frustratingly deaf-toned and visually remarkable The interiors often sumptuously lit and shot, there’s a great simulated crane shot down floating from the ceiling down to the bottom of the stairs at the climax.
Wright makes the influences clear—Hitchcock (which makes sense with De Palma), film noir—in the film itself we have images from Rear Window, Laura, Spellbound and others—there’s even a cleverly shot split diopter of Adams in front of the television at one point.
The colored curtains are a character in the film (probably the second-best character after Adams’ Anna Fox). They’re always primary- shifting from red (predominant) to blue to yellow. Wright uses an abundance of red- the curtains yes, but also the red blanket, umbrellas, her robe.
A meaningless day of the week title card pops up—throw that in the trash.
A very nice fade to red after she spills red wine
A frenetic Elfman score
The same colors that flash expressionistically in her brownstone are in the car crash flashback- a nice shot- red and yellow flashing lights
Sadly, both the last 15-minutes fall rather flat- both the climax and the epilogue
Recommend but ultimately not a top 10 of the year quality film
Totally agree with your analysis. Some really innovative filmmaking going on, but the last 15 minutes were just baffling, I think they took the meaning of “camp” to the next level. I was rolling in laughter at its ridiculousness. Like, I don’t think Wright is that unintelligent to make such directorial choices. And then I realised maybe that was the intention of Wright. A subtle commentary on lame 40’s and 50’s noir thrillers. Adams was actually brilliant, subtle in some scenes, bonkers in the others, plays camp to the T. I am sad she is getting such horrible reviews back to back, right after Hillbilly Elegy. But a special shoutout to Julianne Moore, who had a very brief role but played it deliciously. I think Wright should have zoned in more into the campiness of the plot for it to have been more successful. Yet, I think somewhere down the pipeline, this movie will be recognized as a camp masterpiece.
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