First, we had David Fincher’s take on Gone Girl. Then it was the slightly-less-good The Girl On The Train. And now comes The Woman In The Window, the latest bestseller-adapted, female-focused, A-list mystery thriller to land on our screens.
Joe Wright’s long-delayed take on A.J. Finn’s novel was hampered first by re-shoots and the takeover of original backers Twentieth Century Fox. Then came the pandemic, which led to new owners Disney offering it up to Netflix.
No question, Wright, in his first film since his 2017 Churchill biopic Darkest Hour, has gathered a supreme cast – including Gary Oldman, whose performance as the aforementioned British wartime PM nabbed him an Academy Award. Leading the way here is Amy Adams, revisiting the theme of substance addiction that we’ve previously seen her wrestle with in the likes of Hillbilly Elegy and Sharp Objects.
Adams plays Dr. Anna Fox, an agoraphobic child psychologist who hasn’t left her New York brownstone in months since her marriage (to Anthony Mackie’s Ed) fell apart. She spends her days indulging in her love of black-and-white film noirs, consuming too much wine and medication and spying on her new neighbors, the Russells. Then, Rear Window-style, she sees an act of violence perpetrated by patriarch Alistair (Oldman) and her mind starts racing with suspicion.
Scripted by actor/playwright Tracy Letts (who also pops up in a brief role here), the film does a decent enough job of managing Finn’s red-herring-laden narrative. Meanwhile, a weary-looking Adams thoroughly convinces as the increasingly muddled Anna. There are substantial roles too for Julianne Moore and Jennifer Jason Leigh, though the less said about their characters the better.
Even the minor support impresses – notably The Falcon And The Winter Soldier’s Wyatt Russell (Bad Cap is back!) as Anna’s shifty tenant and Fred Hechinger (Eighth Grade) as the Russells’ conflicted teen son Ethan.
Yet, sadly, The Woman in the Window never quite yokes it all together, with Wright falling into the trap of over-egging the thrills and spills. The subtlety of the build-up all but vanishes, as the director struggles to get inside his protagonist’s fractured mind. Still, for those seeking a modern, modestly Hitchockian tale laden with twists, this could be one to draw the curtains to on a Friday night.
The Woman in the Window is available now on Netflix. For more, check out the best Netflix movies out now.