After a 4 day movie run at the Fantasia Film Festival, I have a few days off to put together these reviews (before my next bunch comes around) 🙂
The first movie to kickoff my Fantasia Festival 2014 is Open Windows, a Spain/USA crime thriller. Open Windows didn’t start off on a good note technically and it had nothing to do with the movie. After a server reboot and two stops due to sound issues throughout, the movie did finish playing thankfully and I think despite the irritating sounds during, everyone had a good laugh out of it 🙂 Thats what I like about festivals. Everyone is pretty chill about these things. So, I put those things aside and I’m going to write how I felt about this one.
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell, Adam Quintero
Nick Chambers (Elijah Wood) is the webmaster of Jill Godard Caught: a website dedicated to a star he obsesses over. Luckily, he wins the Internet contest to have dinner with Jill Godard (Sasha Grey) except the campaign manager, Chord contacts him and notifies him that Jill has decided to cancel it last minute. However, Chord makes it up to him by sending him links that brings him closer to Jill’s life. However, as the night goes on, Nick realizes that Chord isn’t really the campaign manager and he has something much bigger and more dangerous than he imagined for both him and Jill.
Open Windows is a tech thriller and one that utilizes a found footage-esque sort of approach. I’m not much of a found footage expert. In fact, I’m relatively new to this genre and honestly, I’ve found zero interest in it. Maybe its the shaky camera work and the really horrible scripts I’ve seen. I go into every single movie hoping to like it and finally, I think I’ve found one thats decent. Open Windows is not with a video camera but its the modern day version of it. Everything happens on the computer screen of Nick Chambers. Then it moves onto another technology item as the plot thickens. Its a new take on an overused and not so much appreciated genre (from what I gather) and this gives it a new life. It truly reminds us: everyday people who rely on almost everything with our computers, the dangers behind it. Someone can hack anything, control anything and just rip your life apart. I promise you, the first thing I did when I got home is re-apply a piece of post-it to cover the webcam on my laptop. I’m not going to striptease nor do I think someone would stalk me but you know, precautions are always good.
I think before we continue with this write-up, you should know that I’m exceptionally stupid at computers and technology. I make do and I learn bit by bit but I think being on a computer in this day and age is all about multitasking and we have so many different windows going on at the same time. That is something to prepare yourself for with Open Windows. Its a bit of multitasking and whats really good is that its really very vocal. Everything is said out loud and we can follow as to what Chord wants Nick to do the whole way with a few interruptions. That being said, this is thriller and to at least keep the thrills on, there really shouldn’t be too much of a reveal here.
Open Windows is a great approach and although sometimes that computer screen can get confusing especially with the sound system problems, the insert of some mysterious characters turns the whole plot around. Those characters also were responsible for a part of my confusion as they had the main guy had a really heavy accent and with all the voices going on at one point, I just got the jest of what was going on. The pace of the movie is actually really intriguing and tons of questions pops up right up to the big finale when literally everything turns into a huge twisty pile. I can’t say mess because I do applaud what they were trying to do even if I needed to sit back for a while (or think a bit about it while I was walking to the bus) about what actually went down. I think I have a good idea of what happened. Where they sometimes lost me was with the technical thing, but I think the less you know technology the more you can feel the danger of this whole thing and for the most part, I started wondering, how will Nick Chambers get himself out of this situation? Lets not even go to say, how he will save Jill Godard…
Before I get ahead of myself because I know I’m heading in that direction, we need to look at Nick Chambers character. Elijah Wood does an outstanding job and falling into an obsessive fanboy. You know that he is because he catches everything of Jill Godard on his site and takes screen shots of every moment she shows her face. To a certain extent, it covers his judgement and logic. To me, it was illogical that I’d click a link from a stranger who calls me claiming to be somebody and I can’t see his face. On top of that, the link is from a site called hackspot. Ding ding ding! This cannot lead to something legal, much less something that you want to get yourself into. BUT, he loves this girl and he’s curious. Some of you might watch this and think he is dumb but as out there as the ending feels, it gives us the answer we want. I thought it was worth the wait at least.
Now, I’m not familiar with Sasha Grey. I only ever saw her in Would You Rather (my review HERE) and she had a somewhat meh role in that. She’s definitely gotten herself a better role in Open Windows. She still gets partially naked once but for the most part, she does carry the movie pretty well. She’s really just the damsel in distress but at the same time, we’re learning about her since thats who the camera is intentionally stalking. The question before anything is why does Chord want to do this to her and why would he use the hands of Nick Chambers to do it?
Overall, Open Windows is full of questions like most thrillers should have and a lot of them do get answered by the end. There are some issues with just logic and judgement with the characters and the ending is a bit complicated, maybe a bit too complex since I got lost for a few moments. There are some parts where I questioned why anyone would do that but Open Windows was done well enough with a fresh take on how it was in that intriguing tech-y found footage-esque approach that I got over all of it and felt the tension as the movie progressed on. I’m not going to say this is the best thriller I’ve seen but its far from the worst. It has a lot of potential and it might have had space to be better but everyone does a great job here and I fully appreciated the movie for what it was (even if we had pauses due to technical difficulties) 🙂 I enjoyed it a lot and I would probably give it a second chance, maybe at home with some headphones and subtitles on.
P.S. I’m bumping up Elijah Woods’ Maniac on my viewing list 😉
Since this is just a Canadian Premiere, has anyone else seen this yet? What did you think? Any thoughts on Elijah Woods and/or Sasha Grey?
9 thoughts on “Fantasia Festival 2014: Open Windows (2014)”
I was interested in seeing a review for this movie. I thought the trailer was awful, so it’s good to hear that it is better than what I had seen. Great review, Kim!
Thanks Seth! I had my fair share of issues with this and there are some obvious plot holes. But the concept itself is pretty good. I think Elijah Wood, the suspense of what is going on and just how they decided to do this is worth checking out more than the story itself.
Im very curious to check this out. Like you I have become sick of the whole found footage craze but this one is done via computer screens. It reminds me a bit of Rear Window, but instead of binoculars. The main character is using webcams. I know Sasha gets a lot of flack for being an ex porn star, but I feel she can put in a good performance if she has a decent script.(She was good in The Girlfriend Experience) The DIrector of this also did Time Crimes and that was a really good thriller with a very simple plot that got more complex. Yes you should see Maniac. Elijah Wood is excellent
Actually, in the description for this movie at the festival, it was compared to Rear Window. I’ve never seen that yet (which I think I’m probably missing out). I’ll try to find All the movies you talked about here. Sounds like I have a lot to catch up to.
I actually saw another one with similar techniques but horror genre 😉 You might be interested in that too.
“the first thing I did when I got home is re-apply a piece of post-it to cover the webcam on my laptop”
Dammit Kim, i was hoping you wouldn’t notice! Now what am i going to watch 😦
ROFL! Umm…Sorry? I guess? 😛
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