Windfall 2022 hollywood movies review

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Windfall is a coherent and cohesive thriller that dabbles with dark comedy and benefits from having a small cast and a beautiful single location. Directed and co-written by Charlie McDowell, the film follows Jesse Plemons and Lily Collins as an unnamed married couple and Jason Segel as a man who breaks into their vacation home somewhere in California. What begins as an absurd home burglary gone wrong turns into a battle of wills between the trio as they navigate a precarious situation.

As good as the trio is, Windfall belongs to Jesse Plemons. He plays an obnoxious, rich tech bro who has hoarded an insane amount of wealth for himself while building a program that eliminates entire workforces. He is not one to cheer for, which is a root cause for the tension in the film. It is a layered role that is constantly shifting. In one moment, Plemons will be sarcastic asshole who isn’t much to think about before shifting into a menacing egomaniac who clearly exhibits a dangerous mentality that is ruining the world. Plemons’ charisma is palpable, which makes it seem like his co-stars are chasing after him throughout the film.

Collins’ performance is more subdued, balancing the conditional benevolence of a rich white woman with a character who is aware of her contradictions and the sacrifices she has made to be wealthy. Segel is a bit of a jack of all trades here, balancing a goofy, dangerous, and sad portrayal of a desperate man.The other star of this film is Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaanss’ score, which kicks off the characters’ two-day journey. It is the kind of score that is meant to be noticed because it has character. The score builds the tension, unease, suspense, and comedy in every given moment, pulling audiences in rather than taking them out of the experience. Paired with McDowell’s controlled directing choices, it allows the actors to take up more space to thrive.

Windfall is an excellent example of the Chekhov’s gun principle. It is as if McDowell constructed the entire film around this dramatic principle, which suggests that every element in a story must be necessary. Key details are referred to a couple of times, each revealing components about the characters that will be relevant to their fates. Some details are merely distractions from the clear path this story will take, diversions that make one wonder, “Is this what it’s all about?” The film could only succeed by balancing a narrative built on clues and callbacks — and it works. For others, Windfall may be too simplistic or overindulgent. The latter is justified by a predictable ending that is, in fact, indulgent, but not to the film’s detriment.

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