One of the writers behind Windfall is Jason Segel which revealed fun fact I didn’t know about myself until now. Apparently, I’ve seen all but one of the films that have him as a eclectic writer. Well, except the the most famous one he penned. He produced the movie and wrote it with Justin Lader and Andrew Kevin Walker. One of their other co-writers though is the director Charlie McDowell, who, looking him up, directed The One I Love. That’s a near perfect movie because of its concept. I’m so happy to see another of his films to see what he and Segel come up with.
It’s kind of like Love in that McDowell uses an Ojai vacation house. But this time around it has a Nobody (Segel) robbing an empty vacation home. That home becomes less empty as in goes a billionaire CEO (Jesse Plemons). The Husband also brings his non profit working Wife (Lily Collins, also serving as producer with Plemons and Segel) with him. Think Dog Day Afternoon but with intermittent California calm. I say intermittent because a chase scene on a fruit orchard is bafflingly calm in a mostly good way.
Many movies exist just so the can hit that 90 minute mark which is something I’m not totally mad at with Windfall. Nobody was content with stealing $5000 of the CEO’s money. However, he decides that he needs to steal more after seeing a security camera that might plaster his face all over the news. He asks for $500000, an amount the Husband can’t get until the night after. The wait leads to a uniquely tense two days and nights.
That long time reminds me that it’s been a whole eight years since I’ve seen Segel in a movie, and the drastic changes between his face in 2014 and his face now adds character. He truly evokes this relatable everyman. One of the things that help Nobody with his crime is for the couple to not know anything about him, but that face says it all. Collins also adds a resplendence to her vulnerability.
As I wrote earlier, the narrative contrivance in Windfall doesn’t irk me as much as it treats certain things like money as philosophical exercises. Another thing that it specifically treats as an exercise is the concept of billionaires. But then again billionaires are extremely interesting. What would anyone if do if they faced one or put one in a vulnerable position? All of these feel like vague questions, although this movie is one of those cases where performances add colour within blank spaces.
That’s especially true with Plemons, who is the right kind of human and menacing. He matches the energy of the shots that the movie shows of Ojai’s orchards. Those trees and that space remind me why I don’t do exurbs. As this movie shows, anything can happen, and it’s the anticipation and the planning give viewers the right kind of anxiety. I’m lastly 50/50 on whether or now I’ll see a more disturbing death scene this year than the one we see here. But yeah, it’s disturbing.
Windfall comes soon on Netflix.
- Release Date: 3/18/2022