An agoraphobic woman living alone in New York begins spying on her new neighbors, only to witness a disturbing act of violence.
‘The Woman in the Window’ is what I imagine is the end result of Joe Wright watching ‘Rear Window’ and deciding it required a modern update, only to remove all the elements that made Hitchcock’s film such a classic (I am aware it’s based on a novel, but I think this point holds true!). It stars Amy Adams as Dr. Anna Fox, a psychologist who suffers from agoraphobia, which means she is housebound in her Manhattan apartment. When new neighbours arrive across the street, Anna witnesses a crime and finds herself drawn into a situation she can’t get herself out off.
I’d watch Amy Adams in just about anything but she’s stranded in a bad movie here, one that feels misjudged and significantly overwritten by Tracy Letts, who is usually a pretty accomplished screenwriter. Hitchcock is the clear influence here and he has shown that you can wring a lot of tension out of a simple setup (i.e. in ‘Rear Window’) so it’s odd that ‘The Woman in the Window’ goes for almost the entirely opposite approach, with the movie becoming more and more ludicrous with it really needing the director to put on the brakes. Wright doesn’t seem to have the patience to let the paranoia and tension gradually seep in, so we get lots of events that are designed to jolt the action and throw you off guard, but ultimately are just annoying and prevent the film from developing organically. Joe Wright could have learnt a lot from the old movies Anna spends much of her time watching, to be honest.
Alongside Adams the film does have a pretty good supporting cast and the best thing I can say for ‘The Woman in the Window’ is that the performances are strong, with the actors making what they can of the stilted dialogue and shaky material. That being said, the rest of the film is such a mess (less said about the conclusion/twist the better) and this is really quite forgettable stuff – a waste of a talented cast and crew!
Directed By: Joe Wright
Starring: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Brian Tyree Henry, Fred Hechinger, Wyatt Russell, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tracy Letts