Out Now On-Demand
Shot entirely from the perspective of viewing a computer monitor, this cyber thriller from the director of Timecrimes stars Elijah Wood as Nick, a man who wins a dinner date with popular actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey). But when Jill refuses to go through with it, her supposed campaign manager gives Nick intrusive access to the starlet’s private life.
Rating: M Violence, offensive language & nudity
Spain, USA, France
Elijah Wood has been hitting a rather awesome streak starring in gimmicky thrillers like Maniac, Grand Piano and the upcoming Cooties. Now he brings his panicky, dweeby, sometimes-creepy-sometimes-not persona to this real-time cyber-thriller from Timecrimes mastermind Nacho Vigalondo, shown entirely from the perspective of a laptop screen. It’s an absurd idea supplemented with equally absurd plot twists. The results are also absurd – absurdly awesome.
The film opens with simple fanboy Nick recording an introduction for prize he’s won: dinner with his favourite starlet Jill Goddard (played by porn star Sasha Grey). But when a mysterious caller invades his laptop and tells him it’s been cancelled, hot shit hits the cooling fan and doesn’t stop buzzing.
The perception of events grows more creative as the suspense ramps up, using exterior lenses like webcams, camcorders, security footage, distorted 3D reconstructions and more to map out the action. Like Timecrimes, the mind marvels and boggles at the ridiculous amount of coordination Vigalondo shows in his direction given the seemingly limited format. Half the fun of Open Windows is simply watching this origami of filmmaking unfold; the other half is credited towards a genuinely fun and superbly paced cat-and-mouse plot that smears delicious B-thrills like spreadable cheese.
If you’re still not convinced that a computer screen can sustain a riveting narrative, have a go with the TIFF-winning short film Noah. Now imagine that with an on-the-run mystery, an excellent car chase and, um, Sasha Grey.