REVIEW: ‘Windfall’ is a Potent and Intense Character Study

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Windfall

Netflix has been attacking a slew of different properties lately, with their most recent hit, The Adam Project, being the number 1 film on the streaming service in the US right now. There are an abundant amount of excellent selections just waiting to be watched, but where do you even start? Well, dear reader, sit back and let me tell you why Windfall on Netflix should be next on your film watchlist.

Directed by , Windfall is an intense character study of three distinctly different characters who are forced to spend time together in the most unlikely of situations. Wealthy tech billionaire Jesse Plemons (CEO), and Lily Collins (the Wife), enter their summer home and are startled to find intruder Jason Segel (Nobody) is robbing them. After several unfortunate events, it’s now a waiting game as Nobody extorts the CEO for a ransom fee.

I went into this film knowing nothing other than the cast list piqued my curiosity. Featuring the talents of Jesse Plemons, Lily Collins, and Jason Segel together in a psychological thriller, with literally only one other cast member, I was more than eager to know more. The film is substantially layered with an incredibly intriguing plot that is ultimately reinforced by the talents of the cast and the exploration of their characters.

In case you’re wondering, yes the character names are CEO, the Wife, and Nobody. There’s no mistake. The intent behind the design was so that you know just enough without getting bogged down by too many specifics. This is precisely where the film wants to live and breathe, within the grey of the interactions these characters have as the story slowly peels back the layers and creates a complexity far beyond anything else you’d need to know.

Windfall is a manipulative, winding, and scheming plot that is constantly evolving until the very final moment. The film hinges on the audience’s need to know what will happen next, the mystery of it all based on the highly-strung circumstances the characters find themselves in. It is a collection of choices, and reactions that result in an unconventional story that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

The trio of performances was utterly unexpected. Plemons, who is coming off the back of a hugely successful 2021 after starring in The Power of the Dog, highlights that the man has hit an unbelievable stride and that passion is so evident within this role. It’s not just Plemons, with Collins and Segel also rising to the challenge of the dialogue and the excruciatingly strained situation. I’ve never seen either Collins or Segel in a production like this, and yet the dramatic tone suits both of them so well. Whether it was down to the direction of McDowell, or the actor’s belief in the script, the outcome and the combination of this trio genuinely bear fruit. Plemons eats this role up, with the CEO taking a more than dubious path as he exploits the situation from every angle.

Another facet of what struck me about Windfall was the approach to the cinematography and the film’s score. The location is truly beautiful taking place in a ranch house in the middle of an orange grove in California, but given the seediness of the story, it serves as such a startling contrast with the natural light and the dark and broody tone. Not only is the location picturesque, but alternatively, it’s extremely remote, so the film taps into that pandemic-style lockdown vibe we’re all very accustomed to at this point. With the gravity of the situation paired with the isolation, it dials everything way up.

The score only furthers this point, and it is seriously masterful. The assembly of the arrangement is consistently present offering a sinister and foreboding tone that underscores the whole film. The string instruments are utilized to perfection.

Windfall embodies a classic noir suspense story, fraught with some incredible character performances from Jesse Plemons, Lily Collins, and Jason Segel. Charlie McDowell brings together a gripping story that is not only brilliantly shot, but the score adds a whole other level to the apprehensive tone. It’s 90 minutes of teeth grinding, and microaggressions with an explosive twist at the end of it all. More films like this, please.

Windfall is available now exclusively on Netflix.


Windfall
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Windfall embodies a classic noir suspense story, fraught with some incredible character performances from Jesse Plemons, Lily Collins, and Jason Segel. Charlie McDowell brings together a gripping story that is not only brilliantly shot, but the score adds a whole other level to the apprehensive tone. It’s 90 minutes of teeth grinding and microaggressions with an explosive twist at the end of it all. More films like this, please.