Now for a break from our regularly scheduled silliness to provide you with a serious review of a movie starring a former adult film actress and a guy with the last name Wood: “Open Windows”Image 2

Synopsis from Wild Bunch: “Nick’s a lucky guy. Tonight, he’ll be having dinner with Jill Goddard, the hottest actress on earth. She’s promoting her latest movie, and he’s won the main prize in an online contest. Then he gets a call. Some guy named Chord explains that dinner has been cancelled. And it’s Jill’s fault: she’s a high-maintenance diva, and everybody hates her guts. Chord says he can make up for it. He offers Nick the tools to spy on Jill from his computer for the rest of the night, in a way that no fan could dare dream of. The terrible truth begins to reveal itself. It looks like Chord set up the whole situation, with Nick playing a part in a much bigger plan…”

This is Ignacio “Nacho” Vigalondo’s first English language film, and he directed it pretty well considering the different type of movie this is.  Trying to fuse a newer type of storytelling with an older story concept seems difficult to do and Nacho almost pulls it off.  I can’t stress how good of job he did on a movie that is something that has not happened before.  I could see this movie as an example in a film school class on pioneering a genre.  The entire movie is from the perspective of Nick’s laptop screen. There is a couple scenes in the movie that are unique due to the possibilities brought around by advanced consumer technology. This could give future filmmakers a how-to on this kind of directing. He did a decent job with what he had to work with and I am looking forward to seeing more from him.

The script has what I call the ‘bones’ and the ‘meat’.  The ‘bones’ of the film is the outline of the plot.  It’s a real basic “Rear Window” meets “Nick of Time” type of plot that people can identify with, without having to think too hard about what is happening.  The ‘meat’ is the entire dialog; which is just not good.  This may be due to this being Nacho’s first English-speaking film; but even a good amount of the logic behind these characters decisions is up for interpretation.

The acting in this filmImage 3 is good. Elijah Wood (Nick) and Sasha Grey (Jill) are adequate for the roles. They do the best with the dialog and directions they were given.  There are other people in the movie but they don’t do a lot of anything.  The only two actual people in the movie are Nick and Jill. There are a few other people with screen time but nothing worth noting. There isn’t much more to say about the acting because there wasn’t acting so much as reacting. The characters didn’t interact with one another on any kind of real level so this is a tough category to judge the movie.

One of the big downfalls of this film is its use of special effects.  Don’t get me wrong, some of the effects were cool, and as concepts, are very interesting.  There is a scene where a character is being shot with multiple obscured cameras at once creating a composite 3d image.  The image in the scene is rough because it’s real time and a messy way of creating an image; this may have been better suited for a different type of movie where this would make more sense.  The issue here is that they are unnecessary and take away from the actual story being told.  There are times where I’m taken right out of the story due to the haphazard transitions of effects or even the effects themselves. That being said, I am looking forward to when more movies will take concepts from this type of suspense and use it in different ways.  Maybe not the whole movie, but I can see parts of movies done like this to add a sense of intentional confusion for the audience creating suspense.

I want to reiterate that the concept of a movie based on a person’s computer screen is an interesting idea. On paper it sounds interesting because you can almost storyboard your movie by design and give the audience multiple points of focus but at the same toImage 1me limiting the amount of information they are getting to create suspense, punch lines, or a multitude of other effects.  The execution seems difficult to do without causing long moments of disinterest or boredom.

I won’t mince words, this film isn’t for everyone.  It may not even be for most.  I found this hard to follow due to visual effects.  I look at computer screens all day, the last thing I want to see in my spare time is a movie that is some guy’s computer screen.  This may be a cool novelty for some but I know most of my friends wouldn’t be too into it either.  On a positive note, there are enough compelling factors that keep you with some real good visual effects.  At no time during the movie did I want to stop watching because I wanted to know what happened and the ending gives you the right amount of closure and wonder to have you want to see what more could happen.