Starring: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore
Director: Joe Wright
Running Time: 101 mins
The Woman In The Window is an American film about an agoraphobic woman who witnesses the murder of her neighbour from across the street, but soon faces an uphill battle to prove what she saw.
For a film that leans so heavily on nods to classic films like Rear Window, it’s amazing how badly The Woman In The Window misses the mark when it comes to telling a tense and exciting Hitchcockian story.
I can’t speak to the original book that this film is based on, but the fact of the matter is that The Woman In The Window takes a brilliantly eerie and unsettling premise and turns it into a messy piece of melodrama that lacks any of the tension its story really warrants.
It’s a real shame, because there is potential here. Admittedly, despite the talent both in front of and behind the camera, nobody is quite on top form here, with a likable but rather one-dimensional turn from lead Amy Adams, as well as unmemorable co-starring roles from the likes of Gary Oldman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Julianne Moore, with only Bryan Tyree Henry matching Adams throughout.
For the most part, The Woman In The Window feels like a film full of wasted potential, and that feeling becomes more evident for one very small moment about two-thirds of the way through the story, when everything calms down for a second.
From the beginning of the movie, The Woman In The Window overplays its tension with a loud and overbearing musical score, overenergetic camerawork and unnecessarily blatant homages to Hitchcock classic with the use of Dutch angles and other such cinematography.
It’s all very messy and very loud, never giving you the time to settle in to what is at heart a complex and emotionally distressing story. However, as the third act rolls around, the film calms down dramatically, leaving only Amy Adams in front of the camera in what is by far the story’s quietest and best scene.
It’s only a fleeting moment, but the seconds where The Woman In The Window stops trying to be so energetic are by far the most effective, both in terms of creating tension and above all emotional depth. For the rest of the movie, it’s difficult to really connect with Adams’ character amidst all the mess, but for a brief second, you understand so much about who she is, and why she is the way she is.
If only director Joe Wright could have taken that ‘less is more’ approach and applied it to the film as a whole, then The Woman In The Window would have been a fantastic thriller, full of deep emotional resonance and brilliantly unsettling thrills. However, the film is far too loud and far too melodramatic for its own good, making it a very disappointing watch throughout. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 6.6 overall.