There are a lot of films that have a twist that ties them together that makes sense in the context of that particular film. Windfall is the latest version of this cinema trope. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t work. Windfall does everything it can to have a good twist but sacrifices the plot in the process.
An average nobody (Jason Segel) is walking around this beautiful rustic-looking home when the owner of the house, a CEO of a tech company (Jesse Plemons), and his wife (Lily Collins) come home to vacation. The man was breaking into their home because he thought they wouldn’t be there. Things start to unravel after this, and we eventually find out why the man broke into the house in the first place.
Another popular trope in films is movies set in one location. This film is set in a beautiful home with a nice pool, sauna, and orange grove in the backyard. This home is perfect. Anybody would be highly jealous to have it. The characters move around from room to room. This movement is how the film keeps processing, and the story keeps moving forward. The director, Charlie McDowell, gives the film the feel of a play because of the single setting.
The cast of the film is relatively small. It only has four people: the three I mentioned already and the Gardener (Omar Leyva), who shows up halfway through the film. Three leads are very effective in getting this story across on screen. McDowell and Segel came up with this story idea. This setting and story would work in most cases, but this film had a slow pace and didn’t move very well. The twist came late in the movie, and it was a little too late for me to buy it.
This film has some contrivances that set it back for me. Some violence and the placement of the camera keep the story going when it really shouldn’t have been kept moving. The motivations of the robber are suspect, and if it weren’t for these plot contrivances, the film would have ended without anybody who watched it knowing what his motivations were. This film should have been a short film, not a full-length feature.
Windfall is a film on Netflix, so it’s pretty easy to see for most people. If it weren’t for the stars, I think most people would skip it. The plot contrivances outweigh decent acting by the three stars and the overall look and feel of the film, which are pretty good. The director tries to make this story engaging by throwing in a twist at the end, but it’s too late. This film just doesn’t work in the overall context of what it’s trying to do and say.
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media