The final film from Fox 2000, The Woman in the Window, finally meets its audience through Netflix after being delayed for quite a while. Directed by Joe Wright, the mystery-thriller focuses on Anna Fox (Amy Adams), an agoraphobic woman who attempts to uncover a dark secret she suspects her new neighbors have.
Right from the premise, it is clear a mile away that a cliché concept is at play, as it goes for many thrillers or horror dramas. Be that as it may, it is hard to deny that the psychological aspects brought into the concept at least manages to capture the audience in the first act whilst the storyline settles in. Amy Adams, as it could be claimed for most of her performances, portrays the character in her vulnerable state perfectly. Counting in the fact that she is accompanied by Gary Oldman, the duo do an incredible job in their respective roles as Anna Fox and Alistair Russell. Moreover, Julianne Moore, Anthony Mackie and Jennifer Jason Leigh, all three renowned for their diverse roles in multiple projects, create a great supporting cast for Oldman’s and Adams’ characters.
Unfortunately, the ever-so-successful casting is immediately overshadowed by fragmented appearances by the rest of the cast that, in terms of acting, fall under the category of stereotypical and average at best. A unified vision is almost never present when it comes to the scenes, as the sequences usually follow Anna Fox, with the rest of the cast appearing in-and-out occasionally.
What’s worse is that the story takes forty minutes at most to start falling apart. The premise, which is actually structured well in the beginning despite its clichéed approach to the genre, ends up losing the focus on the psychological aspects that were advertised as crucial to the story in the first twenty or so minutes. From that point on, the film resorts to cheap mind-tricks, none of which are shocking to the audience, as they are some of the most overused tropes in the mystery-thriller subgenre and any other subgenre that relates to it.
There is very little essence to the resolution of the film, as the relevance of some of the cast from the first half of the runtime is mainly forgotten and the least relevant gain importance without any payoff whatsoever. As if this is not jarring enough, the film borrows from slasher or horror-inspired sequences in terms of technicality. Therefore, both the consistency of the story and the consistency of cinematography is betrayed in the second half.
Granted, The Woman in the Window is an adaptation of the novel by the same name written by A.J. Finn, thus the creativity of Joe Wright in that sense is limited to a degree. Yet, it is apparent that the story itself has its shortcomings and is not well-rounded at all. Instead of overshadowing the shortcomings of the side characters and the main storyline as explained above, the film unfortunately highlights them in their unpolished state.
During its best moments, The Woman in the Window contains intriguing visuals, fitting sound-mixing and a great cast. Yet having picked a not well-rounded story with additional missteps during the production leaves a somewhat entertaining film at best good enough for a lazy evening, where it could have been much more.