Running time: 100 minutes. Rated R (for violence and language.) On Netflix.
Somebody fetch the Windex!
The long-gestating thriller “The Woman in the Window,” based on A.J. Finn’s novel, is here, and it sure is dusty.
Said glass pane belongs to the cavernous New York home of Anna (Amy Adams), an agoraphobic child psychologist who’s currently separated from her husband. It doesn’t matter much that she’s afraid to leave her house, because her Upper West Side brownstone is ginormous. Its pristine kitchen takes up half a floor, there is a dramatic atrium skylight and a lovely roof garden. I wouldn’t leave it either!
Whose kid, exactly, is she treating to be able to afford this pad? The King of Spain?
Adams plays Anna as a mean, cackling old crone who hates people and loves booze. She is an off-putting character on paper, to be sure, but the actress’ campy take makes matters worse. You quickly grow weary of watching the performance, and don’t sympathize with her plight at all.
When Anna isn’t whining to her husband on the phone, or snapping at people dropping off packages at her door, she’s complaining to her own psychologist, played by Tracy Letts, who also wrote the script. It’s a rare writing misfire for him.
Anna’s unenviable life — well, except for that fabulous house — becomes even more thorny when she receives a visit from a woman named Jane (Julianne Moore), who says she’s the new neighbor with a husband and son. The pair have a rare fun night of drinking and gabbing.
Days later, she witnesses Jane being murdered across the street by her husband and frantically calls the cops. The man, Alistair (Gary Oldman) rushes over, but — presto change-o — he’s accompanied by an entirely different Jane (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and insists Anna is confused or making it up. The cops think she’s a loon, too.
For the rest of the movie, Anna morphs into a charmless Miss Marple who tries to get to the bottom of what she saw.
Watching “The Woman in the Window,” we patiently wait for a “Gone Girl” moment, when our entire reality is shattered and an altogether different tale begins. A shocker. Director Joe Wright’s film thinks it accomplishes that feat, but the revelations are expected and leave us feeling blasé. The second attempted twist, which is more “Sixth Sense,” doesn’t move us because by then the audience is fed up with this bitter shut-in.
At the end of the film, Anna moves away. But the film never solves the No. 1 mystery: What is the house’s asking price?