Open Windows – A great idea made into an okay movie
Written and directed by: Nacho Vigalando
Starring: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, and Neil Maskell
I went into “Open Windows” with pretty high expectations. Nacho Vigalando, who both wrote and directed, blew me away with his first feature film “Timecrimes” (so much so that it is featured on our top 10 sci-fi films of the 2000s). I am also a fan of both Elijah Wood and Sasha Grey, albeit for very different reasons. I have always rooted for Ms. Grey’s career as a legit Hollywood actress to take off, and believe she has the acting ability to pull it off. Unfortunately this is not the film to make that happen.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things to like about this movie. The acting is in fact solid by both Grey and Wood. The premise is intriguing as well. It’s really the last third or so of the film that kind of killed it for me. Let me explain why.
Nick (Wood) is a super fan of beautiful actress Jill Goddard (Grey). He wins a contest on-line and is flown out to Austin, Texas where he is set to have an interview dinner with Jill. During a live webcast of the press conference for her new film, Nick is contacted, on his laptop, by Chord (Maskell) a man who claims to be affiliated with Ms. Goddard. Chord informs Nick that Jill has cancelled the dinner, for no good reason, but that he has something even better for him.
Chord uses his hacking skills to hack into Jill’s cell phone, and more. Nick hesitantly goes along with this, until he realizes that things are escalating too quickly. It may just be too late though.
Up to this point, I was enjoying the film. I liked the premise, and it was fun guessing what Chord would do next. Elijah Wood does an excellent job at portraying his character’s gradual realization that he is being pulled into something dangerous. I also liked the originality of the hacker using all of the surrounding technology to victimize Nick and Jill. That is something I am personally terrified of, which made it a very intense viewing experience.
Then there is the final act in which you simultaneously get tired of watching Nick’s computer screen constantly, and you meet three new European hackers who call themselves Triops. They add nothing to the plot other than annoying dialogue, and from that point on the film goes off the rails. There are a couple of fun car chase scenes thrown in to add some action outside of the game of cyber cat and mouse, but it is not enough. Things just get too convoluted and frustrating.
Like I said before, there are some enjoyable bits, and a unique premise. There is also some good acting, but at the end of the day I expected more from a director I know can deliver more. Maybe worth a rental, but not the 9.99 that OnDemand is charging. Sorry, Nacho.