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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Open Windows movie review: click to close

Open Windows red light

A disgusting tale that imagines its tiny side dish of commentary on toxic fandom and male entitlement makes up for it being a perfect example of such.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s like Rear Window, except instead of taking place out the window of an apartment overlooking a busy residential courtyard, it’s all unfolding in the multiple windows open on a laptop. And instead of a journalist and war correspondent laid up with a broken leg, Elijah Wood (Grand Piano) is a nerdy fanboy obsessed with actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey); he runs a fan site called JillGoddardCaught.com (he probably doesn’t see anything creepy in that). But it’s not like Wood’s Nick Chambers is stuck in one little room — that could have been potentially interesting; he could have been an agoraphobic nerdy fanboy, maybe — he’s perfectly able to move about (laptops are portable!), and, indeed, writer-director Nacho Vigalondo doesn’t see any reason why a story seen only in software windows can’t involve a car chase and some other bits of empty action. Nor even why he can’t invent wildly implausible ways to get it all on a computer screen, either.

Oh, how far we have fallen as a culture! From a manly adventurous war correspondent who solves a murder without even getting off his ass to a docile, gormless geek who is lured, with a pathetic minimum of effort, by the faceless voice of Chord (Neil Maskell: The Rise) coming over the wifi, into spying in very intimate ways on the object of his slobbering by tapping into her computer and her smartphone. As streaming video and overheard Skype chats and purloined CCTV give way to the most ridiculous sorts of computer surveillance and intrusion that are not supportable in a non-science fiction environment, Open Windows becomes a disgusting tale of torture-porn-esque sexual debasement intended to teach a lesson to Goddard for being a woman in the public eye who dares to limit public access to her body, with a tiny side dish of commentary on toxic fandom and male entitlement that defeats itself by being a perfect example of toxic misogyny. None of the men here may be nice people, but they are not humiliated, and none of them are forced to strip — not even in a spiritual way — for the oops! not at all intended! pleasure of the viewing audience.


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Open Windows (2014)
US/Can release: Nov 07 2014 (VOD Oct 02 2014)
UK/Ire release: direct to VOD

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, nudity, threat, violence)

viewed on my iPad

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • RogerBW

    All the informality and loose structure of found footage, without the mobility that real found footage brings. Clearly, this is the future of filmmaking.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I realize that there are very limited roles available to women in mainstream American film, and that getting away from porn into mainstream American film is exceedingly difficult. And I want to give Sasha Grey the benefit of the doubt, that she would turn down these kinds of roles – one thats trade in the same kind of degradation of women themes upon which she based her porn career, minus the on camera sex – if she thought something else was going to come her way. But I just want to punch everyone involved here dead in the face.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I was not that impressed with Ms. Grey’s most famous mainstream effort thus far — i.e., The Girlfriend Experience — but I did not hate it enough to hope that it was the high point of Ms. Grey’s acting career.

    Hopefully, she’ll find something better than this but when you consider the type of roles that mainstream actresses in this decade have often settled for, I find it hard to be optimistic.

  • Man man

    Girls are dumb. Bake me a cake, bitch.

  • dev

    This review is garbage. You took what you saw on the surface. The actress angle is a subplot! You gave no credence to the underlying, actual plot

  • Why don’t you share with us what I missed about the underlying plot?

  • LaSargenta

    I never saw any of her porn…were all the themes degrading?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It’s something she’s known for. Whether not “all” applies, I’ll have to ask my friend…

  • LaSargenta

    Or is that your “friend”?

    She never was filmed by Jasun Mark or Michael Lucas as far as I know, so I would have to rely on your information…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh dear dog, please don’t make me the Flickfilosopher comentariat’s go-to expert on porn. >.<

  • LaSargenta

    Oh dear dog, please don’t make me the Flickfilosopher comentariat’s go-to expert on straight porn.

    FIFY

  • Danielm80

    I thought LaSargenta was our expert.

  • Danielm80

    Interestingly, Ball of Kittens is the title of a lost Russ Meyer film.

  • LaSargenta

    …and you’re going to have it re-mastered in 3D, amirite?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Look, there are only so many hours in the day.

    (That goes to both halves of that post.)

  • LaSargenta

    Really? >looks around desk at several partly finished reports, considers what time one has to leave to get to site meeting, remembers laundry waits at home< I'd never have though it.

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