The Woman In The Window: Another Review – Initially slated for a 2019 release, it was destiny that Joe Wrights adaption of The Woman in The Window would be Fox 2000’s last ever film, and what could possibly live up to something like that? Fox 2000 was responsible for numerous classics that have and will endure the test of time, from Fight Club to Life of Pi and whilst it never hit the heights of Searchlight, it didn’t need to, thanks to a consistent flow of hits. So all this is to say, the studio deserved one last success story and, unfortunately, despite reshoots, the complexity of A. J. Finn’s novel proves all too much to tame for the silver screen, or more aptly, for your Netflix screen, because they bought it for some reason. Leaving a once-beloved studio to go out with a fizzle.
Events start on well enough, and for those unfamiliar with the wildly successful novel, I’ll briefly touch on the premise. Anna (Amy Addams) is severely agoraphobic, so much so that she’s trapped inside her New York home, unable to leave without falling unconscious. Cooped up inside all day and boasting some fantastic vantage points from her windows, she watches. She watches everything worth watching, and for her, that is mainly the comings and goings of her neighbours.
It’s all very Rear Window. However, where Wright’s film differs from the 1954 classic is all in the mind. Anna’s condition hampers her reliability, and there’s a delirious coming and going of characters which makes it impossible to tell what’s real or delusion. Ultimately, when she witnesses a brutal murder through the window of her new neighbours, she is thrown into a pit of uncertainty and doubt as she looks for the truth.
This alone feels like too much but believe me when I say there’s even more to it. Therein lies where this adaption loses its way. So much happens leading us in one direction, only for the film to come to a dead halt and tell us, no actually, this other completely irrelevant thing is what you should be thinking about. It makes for a film with a very deliberate and jarring pace and a very non-Joe Wright experience.
Wright is a filmmaker oozing with talent, capable of both wondrous set pieces and pitch-perfect restraint. The Woman in the Window showcases neither and instead is a very frustrating concoction, frustrating because there are good elements to be found here. Addams was more than up to the task, and Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore both put in some strong work. Regrettably, it’s in vain. Despite their efforts, there’s not a single moment in the entire endeavour where my interest, in what is supposed to be a thriller, rose above mere curiosity, and that isn’t enough. One twist in particular, involving a dark realisation for Anna, completely brings a sequence to a stop, and you can almost hear the sound of the film dropping the ball as it happens.
I don’t think cinema needs to completely avoid the Rear Window concept, but I think filmmakers should approach it with a little more reverence than occurred here. Inherently it remains exciting and still holds a lot of potential thrills; only The Woman in the Window doesn’t pick up on any of that and instead haphazardly stumbles in the dark. I feel for all involved because I believe this book, like The Goldfinch, is a tough one to translate to another medium. And while the essence of the text is there, it only appears splattered on the screen in a cacophony of themes and twists.
The Woman in The Window plays host to some solid elements but ultimately succumbs to its complexity and becomes a misfire.
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