13 March 2014 | ceidt
"Rear Window" with Nudity, Question Mark
*I tried to leave out any major story spoilers* It's day 6 now of the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. I went to check out "Open Windows," starring porn star Sasha Grey, at the Alamo Drafthouse on 6th Street downtown. I introduce her as "porn star" because her career as an actress has not really taken off, even after a title role in "The Girlfriend Experience" from Steven Soderberg, one of the greatest movie directors of all time. She was also in many episodes of "Entourage" on HBO. I've been kind of rooting for her since we don't hear many stories of porn stars becoming successful movie stars. They...can't be taken seriously. "The Girlfriend Experience" proved that wrong. Entourage played with the idea. Now, after hearing the premise, I was expecting Ms. Grey to be embracing her career in porn and actually let us watch her through "Open Windows" get naked in theaters.
What we do get is a world of technology. Almost futuristic, the film is shown through multiple webcams and security cameras. The villain has all of these at his disposal as well as the entire internet (apparently). Whatever statement the director was trying to make, I felt was lost. The third act really lost me. It's not even worth explaining. As for the rest of it, basically, we have an actress who sucks (Sasha plays an actress who's supposed to be popular), and her number one fan has a website and is set to meet her. The villain set this up to capture her and blame him for it. There are too many twists that the director couldn't even keep up with, and there were some applaud-worthy moments that were ruined by the way the film was made. It plays like a found-footage film, but we're watching it on a computer. The entire thing is real-time so it feels like it's all done in one take.
What it SHOULD have been... Was a "Rear Window" homage. That's what I was expecting based on an article in the Austin Chronicle that actually mentioned "Rear Window" as if "Open Windows" was going to pay respects to Hitchcock. Instead, "windows" here aren't the ones we look through to engage in voyeurism like a pervert at our favorite porn star. They're the ones we look at on a computer screen! Elijah Wood (oh yeah, he was in it) shouldn't have been forced to leave his hotel room, as if the director wanted us to leave our comfort zone so early, even though a car chase erupts when he chases down the bad guy. This was actually the best scene in the film, and with a low camera angle through much of it from inside the car (via webcam on laptop in passenger seat that is somehow not sliding around everywhere). That should have been the climax, because it was actually mildly gripping until it kept going, slowing down the whole pace of the film. The narrative goes crazy with twists, too. Like, too many. They didn't make sense, either. The director admitted to this in a Q&A after the show. Audience members were asked for questions, yet unwilling to participate until the director just plain asked if anyone hated it so much that they wanted to slap him. True story.
This is an opportunity we should have for more directors, actually.
However, this guy was SO nice, I just felt bad for him. When a shot of Maker's Mark was offered, someone took the opportunity. He slapped the director on the stage. He knew his movie wasn't good. Someone did actually ask if there was any commentary about being a celebrity or our current technology. He said that we're all okay with living lives that should be private and aren't. This answer was unrelated to the film. I wish Sasha would have showed up at the screening. Sasha Grey was basically playing herself, in the movie, an actress even. Except, one the world has never seen naked.
That's a joke, right?
This flick will not help her serious movie career.