MOVIE REVIEW: OPEN WINDOWS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: NACHO VIGALONDO / SCREENPLAY: NACHO VIGALONDO / STARRING: ELIJAH WOOD, SASHA GREY, NEIL MASKELL / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 17TH
Open Windows, helmed by Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo, is not only madder than the Mad Hatter’s tea party, it all hinges on your willing acceptance of broadband connections and computer technology so fast that they feel positively futuristic. 4G? This must be 20G, at least! A dazzling neo-giallo drama that plays out almost entirely via webcams, laptops and mobile phone cameras, the film is not without a certain sense of humour about and awareness of its own implausibility.
Nick Chambers (Wood) has won an Internet competition to have dinner with his favourite movie star, Jill Goddard (Grey). Told that the event has been cancelled at the last minute, a rightly annoyed Nick is roped into a bizarre game of online voyeurism by a cockney bloke (Maskell), a man who appears to be orchestrating events that further push the gullible fanboy into the realms of criminality.
Like a fibre optic cable running through screen history, the film pays homage to crime thrillers of the past and its master practitioners. Key figures of inspiration appear to be Louis Feuillade’s Fantômas and Fritz Lang’s infamous Dr Mabuse, with the director finding time to high-five Alfred Hitchcock, Dario Argento and Brian De Palma along the way.
Sasha Grey is a captivating screen presence, and the camera clearly loves her. But what is it capturing exactly? A steely look – her eyes seem as blank as a great white shark's – is matched by a lack of polish as an actress. She functions in the movie in a not too dissimilar way to Marlene Dietrich in the films of von Sternberg or Barbara Steele in Mario Bava’s Black Sunday. She’s there as a fetish object, above all else. But with her history in pornos, Grey doesn't convince as a damsel in distress. She could eat you alive; maybe you want her to.
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10