Film Review: Windfall (2022)

After breaking into a tech billionaire’s empty vacation home, a man (Jason Segel) finds himself in a sticky situation when the owner (Jesse Plemons) and his wife (Lily Collins) unexpectedly show up. The man takes the couple hostage and scrambles as he works out how to proceed in his undeniably tedious situation. 

Segel’s character (called “Nobody” in the film’s credits) quickly showcases he is anything but a competent criminal, and his efforts are met by mockery from Plemons’ character (“CEO”) and sympathy from Collins’ (“Wife”). This makes for a really interesting dynamic, and adds a charming level of awkwardness to the whole affair (which is aided by the film’s wonderfully cumbersome score). I loved that aspect, but it felt like a step away from what you want from a thriller like this in the first place: suspense. 

Naturally, a premise like Windfall’s oozes the kind of Hitchcockian energy that sets the stage for a great one-location drama. It’s a shame, then, that the film exudes none of the thrills that may be found in one of the Master of Suspense’s works. As Hitchcock often stated, suspense is possible due to an audience’s knowledge of key information… something he demonstrated in his bomb-under-the-table example (a bomb suddenly going off will be surprising, but the knowledge that the bomb is going to go off will be suspenseful). Windfall opts to withhold most everything about these characters and their stories; what IS revealed ends up having fleeting and minimal weight in the plot anyway. 

All this would be fine if the plot had enough twists and turns to carry it forward, but it just… doesn’t. It’s only 90 minutes long, but, boy, was this a slog. The twists that we do get (such as the climax) either lack the build-up and come across as erratic, or are just plain uninteresting. It feels at times like the writers were lost for anything worthwhile to actually include; most of the runtime is taken up by the trio of characters wandering about the premises while doing and saying nothing of interest or relevance. 

Windfall isn’t terrible. The performances from the three leads were enjoyable, and they each manage to give a bit more depth to their flatly-scripted characters than other castings likely could have. Really, there aren’t many glaring individual flaws with what happens in it, but that in itself is what makes it a flawed movie: barely anything happens AT ALL. Perhaps this would’ve worked better as a short film.

Overall rating: 5/10

Published by Jeremy Bader

Aspiring writer, film and music lover, drummer.

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