The Woman in the Window: Netflix Film Review

The Woman in the Window

As much as I love Amy Adams, I didn’t have the highest hopes for The Woman in the Window because I was massively underwhelmed by A.J. Finn‘s novel and doubted that the film adaptation could make significant improvements upon the source material. However, I didn’t expect it to be quite so bad.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Adams stars as Anna Fox, an agoraphobic child psychologist who is mentally unstable, an alcoholic and misusing her pills. She lives alone in a huge New York City townhouse and spends her days talking to her estranged husband Ed (Anthony Mackie) and daughter Olivia on the phone, drinking heavily, watching old movies, and spying on her neighbours, especially the Russells, who have just moved in across the street. One night, she witnesses Jane Russell (Julianne Moore) getting stabbed in her home and calls the police. However, when Detective Little (Brian Tyree Henry) comes to investigate, Jane Russell (now Jennifer Jason Leigh) and her husband Alistair (Gary Oldman) present themselves and insist she is mistaken. What is going on?!

The story is basically Rear Window – with the unreliable narrator angle giving off The Girl on the Train vibes – and it’s obvious director Joe Wright was trying to make an Alfred Hitchcock-style classic thriller thanks to some of the weird stylistic flourishes he rips right out of the Hitchcock playbook, but it was never going reach those heights because it remains rather loyal to the source material’s disappointing story.

With the novel, I really enjoyed the mystery of the two Jane Russells, finding out Anna’s backstory and whether what she saw was real, and it was told from Anna’s first-person point of view so you could truly get into her unreliable mindset. I find films struggle to bring that unreliable narrator essence to life because we’re watching from an outsider’s perspective (The Girl on the Train had this issue too). As a result, we judge her more and are more likely to be on the side of the people who don’t believe her, blaming it on the mix of alcohol and pills giving her hallucinations.

Also, in the book, the third act was such a letdown, it ruined what had come before it. Finn failed to stick the landing and make a believable twist and that’s the same here, even though there are some differences. I generally try to avoid spoilers in my reviews but because most of my issue with the film is to do with the twist, I’ve decided to go for spoilers here.

Not enough time was given to Anna’s friendship with the Russells’ son Ethan (Fred Hechinger) throughout the movie to make the revelation that he’s a psycho shocking. There also isn’t enough explanation from Ethan as to why he’s killed multiple people – for example, what did his father’s colleague Pamela do to warrant being murdered?! His motivations made no sense and everything happens too quickly for the information to sink in before it’s all over. Putting Anna’s lodger David (Wyatt Russell) in this final showdown was a good idea as it added more thrill and drama and there’s a new horrifying gory moment that seemed out of place with the rest of the movie but it certainly made me gasp! Also, the “nine months later” epilogue – which is completely different to the book – annoyed me because I refuse to believe that an agoraphobic with as many issues as Anna (whose backstory isn’t explored anywhere near enough here) can become completely fine in that time and be able to go outside and move house with ease.

I have seen some criticism of Adams’ performance but I didn’t have an issue with it, I thought she was fine. My biggest issue was Hechinger as I believe Ethan’s twist could have been handled so much better in a different pair of hands, even if the script was still rather poor, and Oldman, whose performance was so over-the-top and lacked any sense of nuance and subtlety. I appreciate that Alistair is a stressed man pissed off with his snooping interfering neighbour but his acting didn’t need to be so big and loud.

I liked Russell as David and I’m glad the character got a meatier storyline for the movie and Henry as the sensitive and compassionate cop. It’s hard to comment on Moore, Leigh and Mackie because they have such small roles. I know this was a highly-anticipated film adaptation of a best-selling book when they shot in back in 2018 but I’m surprised they signed up for such minor parts – their talents are wasted! Considering the film has been through extensive reshoots and edits, I can’t help but wonder how much footage of them has been left on the cutting room floor.

The Woman in the Window is not the disaster some headlines are declaring it to be. Yes, it is messy, the acting is bad in places, and the third act is an absolute fail, but I still enjoyed watching it.

Streaming on Netflix now

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synchronic: Film Review

Synchronic

I love a sci-fi and I’m a huge fan of both Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie but I’ve got to say that Synchronic is a classic example of me loving the idea but not the execution.

Dornan and Mackie are Dennis and Steve, two paramedics and longtime best friends who start to encounter people either dead or in a strange state during their shifts and discover it’s the result of a new designer drug in town – Synchronic. After Dennis’ teenage daughter Brianna (Ally Ioannides) goes missing, Steve makes the ultimate sacrifice and takes the drug himself – with unexpected consequences.

I had really high hopes in the beginning because I found their introductory scene, in which they investigate a crime scene, interesting and it immediately grabbed my attention and I also liked getting to know their brother-like bond, but my enjoyment disappeared fairly soon after Steve started taking Synchronic. I assume these sci-fi time-travel scenes are supposed to be the standout portion of the movie but I found them repetitive, tedious, and I mentally checked out a bit. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead failed to bring it back for me from there. Those time travel scenes were just bonkers and I don’t think they made sense.

I actually preferred the more dramatic human side of the film, with Dennis dealing with his teenage daughter’s disappearance and the birth of his second child, while Steve, a ladies’ man and alcoholic, is processing some tragic news which he is yet to tell his best buddy about. I cared far more about that than the sci-fi scenes.

I can’t fault the actors, who do well with what they’re given, but Synchronic just didn’t work for me.

On digital platforms including Amazon, Sky, Google, Virgin, BT, Rakuten, Chili, Xbox, Curzon Home Cinema, and Showcase at Home from Friday 29th January

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Seberg: Film Review

I was really impressed by Kristen Stewart‘s performance in Seberg when I saw its premiere at the Venice Film Festival so it’s such a shame this film seems to have been forgotten about already.

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Seberg: Venice Film Review

Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Kristen Stewart is having a really great run at the moment, isn’t she? Well, I can assure this continues with Seberg, in which she is on fine form once again.

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Pics: Kristen Stewart, Anthony Mackie and Margaret Qualley promote Seberg at the Venice Film Festival

Tonight will mark the world premiere of Benedict Andrews‘ Seberg – a biographical drama about actress Jean Seberg – at the Venice Film Festival.

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The Hate U Give: Film Review

From Eric Garner, Tamir Rice to Philando Castile, there have been so many headlines over the past few years about black men getting killed by white police officers and then them not being charged for it. The Hate U Give is the first studio-backed young adult movie to address this directly, and it is just as powerful and important as Angie Thomas‘ novel of the same name.

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Detroit: Film Review

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I couldn’t access Captain America: Civil premiere cos of silly wristbands

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I previously attended both the Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron premieres at London’s Westfield shopping centre and I had no problem entering the fans pens even though I arrived after work between 3-4pm the day of. I had hoped this would be the same for Captain America: Civil War premiere – but I was wrong, you had to have wristbands, and this is so disappointing.

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Anthony Mackie & Paul Bettany own the Captain America: Civil War press conference

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Today I attended the London press conference for Captain America: Civil War featuring such a large panel that they couldn’t use the usual table and microphone set up and have to stagger them over two levels with lounge chairs! We have (deep breath), from left to right, above: Producer Kevin Feige, Elizabeth Olsen, Daniel Bruhl, Sebastian Stan (hidden), Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey, Jr., Anthony Russo, Paul Bettany, Joe Russo and Emily VanCamp.

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Captain America: Civil War – Film Review

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I watched Captain America: Civil War a couple of days ago and I have been putting off writing my review because I was so overwhelmed by the amount of characters and stories in one movie, yet the Russo brothers somehow managed to juggle it all perfectly and make an incredible superhero film.

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