9 April 2014 | basil1984
God bless Nacho Vigalondo
God bless Nacho Vigalondo ('Timecrimes' / 'Extraterrestrial'); he is a madman in person and in practice. 'Open Windows' is another attempt at an unconventional, high-concept thriller exploring the medium of film at its heart - action through time - and in ways that no one else has even conceived of. Elijah Wood's character is set up in a hotel in Austin having won a sweepstakes to meet his favorite actress, played by Sasha Grey - who, based on some of her IMDb titles ('Anal Artist' / 'Pop Goes the Weasel' / 'House of Ass 3'), isn't likely a Disney alum. When Wood is notified by her representative, 'Chord', that she has canceled their meeting and that being rude to her fans is nothing new, as a supposed retaliation, he's presented with the opportunity for remote access to the actress' laptop, phone, and webcam.
The film doesn't take much time dealing with the ethics of spying on someone but, rather, jumps right into a fast-passed thrill ride that has Wood's character jumping for A to B to C as Chord's true intentions unfold. The story is told in real-time, almost entirely on the screen of a laptop, with practical cameras following multiple events, and various plot points reveled through pop-up windows on the screen. The film was cleverly introduced as a modern-day 'Rear Window' and the gimmick does work; it took some time to get used to but, the tension ramps up quickly and, though the format is pivotal to the story, you almost forget that you're watching anything but a standard narrative. Unfortunately, it's the technology within the narrative that stretches disbelief a bit too far as the twists and turns become more and more bizarre. I'm always curious to see what Vigalondo has up his sleeve and his ambitions did not disappoint but the limitations he imposes on himself as a filmmaker seem to have pushed the state of modern technology into the realm of 'fantasy' which distracts from what is, otherwise, an inventive hostage/who-dun-it scenario.