Open Windows Review

Open Windows is a wild crazy ride, with a convoluted plot that gets more ridiculous as the minutes tick by. It’s ambitious and innovative, but ultimately between the split screen narrative and the heavy handed manner of storytelling it’s hard to stay focused on any one thing. The overstimulation and multitasking are more headache than they’re worth.

The flick opens with ”an exclusive preview” of Dark Sky as our main character Nick Chambers (Elijah Woods) takes screen shots of actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey). The movie plays out in multiple screens to mimic a computer screen. It’s a completely distracting gimmick that is completely over utilized. Nick wins a contest to meet Jill, and interview her. He runs her fansite, and may be more than a bit obsessed with her. He’s very excited, but soon learns that the contest was cancelled by Chord (Neil Maskell) aka the evil British puppet master.

Chord first appears to be one of the good guys, trying to help him out. Nick came a long way to meet the actress who made a diva play and cancelled. Chord has Nick play voyeur, but it back fires when her agent and possible lover, Tony, spots him. At this point, the film’s narrative goes into overdrive, as Chord uses his amazing hacking skills to blackmail Nick into committing a series of illegal activities, including binding and gagging Jill’s boyfriend and sexually harassing the actress over Skype. Eventually Nick revolts, and Chord kidnaps Jill as his punishment.

With the assistance of a trio of Parisian hackers who mistakenly think he’s legendary hacker Nevada, Nick tries to save Jill. Rather than the smart film with a slow build up, the action ramps up, and gets downright sloppy. Nick’s transformation from geeky webmaster to hero suffers from a lack of believability. As the film races towards the final act, the movie’s flaws become too much for any sort of cohesion or closure.

The fault lies not on the actors, but rather on the material itself. Wood and Grey take the material they’re given and they do the best they can with it, but the ridiculousness of the plot and the horrible camera work coupled with the split screen shots were enough to give me a headache from all the bouncing around. The voyeuristic viewing does nothing to ramp up the tension that the film is desperate to build by the end.

Open Windows should be avoided unless you have a large stash of Adderall ready for snorting and a gallon of black coffee to get enough focus to make sense of everything that is happening.


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