Elijah Wood sure has slipped comfortably into B-movies after his stint at the Shire, hasn’t he? When I first stumbled upon Open Windows, I was expecting something along the lines of Wood’s bomb-in-a-piano thriller Grand Piano. There are similarities: both films are quintessential B-thrillers, escalating a catchy premise into something tense (and a little silly). But where Grand Piano operated as a metaphor for all-consuming artistry, Open Windows delves into cyberspace, engulfing its audience in a labyrinthine narrative that’s either intricately constructed or entirely unintelligible.
You see, Open Windows spirals out from a voyeuristic hook – blogger Nick Chambers (Wood) is invited to enact his obsession for acclaimed actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey, an ex-porn-star playing a chaste starlet, natch) – into a dizzying surveillance thriller, with car chases, gunfights and coerced stripteases. It’s well-constructed enough to hold your interest throughout – even as you might lose your grip on the plot after the eighth or ninth plot twist – but its chief appeal is its innovative visuals. Taking place entirely on a laptop screen spotted with dozens of chat/surveillance windows (hence the name), director Nacho Vigalando elevates the brazenly trash material with some mind-bending imagery, particularly in its last half. Worth a look.