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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sean Kelly

TADFF14: Open Windows

open_windowsFrom director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) comes the webcam-based cyber thriller Open Windows.  Nick Chambers (Elijah Wood) is the webmaster of a fansite about movie star Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey), who has apparently won a contest to meet her.  While waiting in his hotel room, Nick receives a Skype call from a mysterious man named Chord (Neil Maskell).  While initially appearing to be a representative of the film Jill is promoting, it quickly becomes apparent that Chord is a hacker using Nick as a pawn to hunt down Jill.  With Jill in danger, Nick must find a way to track down Chord and save his favourite movie star.

Open Windows is a film that is portrayed nearly entirely as a series of webcam conversations on a computer desktop.  In many ways, this style reminds me of the excellent award-winning Canadian short film Noah.  While Open Windows is not as well done as that short, it is still a fun to watch cyber thriller.  Of course, the film does require some heavy suspension of disbelief, since Nick is seen willingly clicking all the links that Chord sends him, even though they have the words “hacker bot” in the URL.  Also, like many cyber thrillers, Open Windows has a somewhat over-stylized portrayal of hackers, including a very sci-fi looking server room.

Open Windows continues Elijah Wood’s foray in genre films, following Maniac and Grand Piano.  The film is also a very notable mainstream role for former pornographic actress Sasha Grey, even though the film can’t help but make some tongue in cheek references to her former career.  The film is also quite timely in light of the recent mass celebrity hackings.  In many ways, Open Windows is a commentary on our obsession with celebrities.  Overall, Open Windows is a fun, yet somewhat unbelievable, cyber thriller.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).