Windfall opens with great shots of a beautiful estate in California that includes a large swimming pool and picturesque orange groves. Right away I think how wonderful it must be to live there. Strange though, there’s only one person we see and he doesn’t seem to belong in these plush surroundings. We soon realize he’s a burglar looking for valuable objects and money. He doesn’t seem to be in any hurry, so he must know the owners are not likely to interrupt him.
The rest of this thriller deals with what happens when a rich CEO and his lovely wife show up and become the burglar’s hostages. It’s not a pretty sight. But with Jason Segel (The Muppets), Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog) and Lily Collins (To the Bone) playing this reluctant trio, we get our money’s worth. However, there’s not much action. It’s really more a “talky" movie with film noir touches and an overwhelming soundtrack at times.
Seeing Segel in a dramatic performance like this is new to me. He comes across as someone alienated to society with a score to settle with the wealthy CEO, who doesn’t recognize him at all. Although Windfall oozes pessimism, we get a glimpse of humor from Segel’s character.
Plemons seems perfect as the arrogant CEO. He never asks his wife for advice and always thinks he’s right about what needs to be done. Plus, his outbursts are absolutely outrageous. Is there any role this actor can’t play?
As the wife, Collins is just right. She tries to calm things down. And her reaction to the Gardener’s (Omar Leyva) situation makes us believe she’s a decent person.
Three people caught in noir-ish plot.
But don’t worry or think a lot.
Two hostages and one burglar
cannot avoid a sad murder.
CEO doesn’t want to kill.
But, if needed, will blood he spill?
His wife seems bored with everything.
Hubby thinks cash saves anything.
“Windfall” lacks much real sympathy
while offering some empathy.
Who ends up with the “Windfall” stash?
If I tell it would mean the lash.
As long as life disappoints, men and women betray each other, and what we need gets us killed, there'll always be film noir. --- Charles Pappas, film historian and author of It’s a Bitter Little World: The Smartest, Toughest, Nastiest Quotes from Film Noir.
(Released by Netflix and rated “R” by MPAA.)
Director: Charlie McDowell
Writers: Charlie McDowell, Jason Segel, Justin Lader, Andrew Kevin Walker