The pandemic had much more of an impact on the movie industry than just at the box office. You can sort of tell the kind of film that was made during lockdown: Small, character-driven dramas or thrillers that utilize very few locations and minimal casts.
This weekend there is an example of how to accomplish this effectively (see "The Outfit"), and how difficult it can be. With "Windfall" (on Netflix Friday 3/18), we're happy that the cast and crew got out there and made a movie, but the result is a banal so-called "thriller" that's so minimal you'll nearly forget it's even there.
The entirety of "Windfall" takes place at some sort of fancy ranch, a Summer get-away vacation home of a rich CEO (Oscar-nominee Jesse Plemons) and his wife ("Emily in Paris" star, Lilly Collins). When they arrive, they get more than they bargain for, when they discover that a robber (Jason Segel) has broken in. We're not sure at first what his motivations are, or if he has any connections to his victims. Soon after, we won't much care.
The premise might have been played for laughs, but instead is devoid of them. Segel mopes around - clearly with something on his mind - and the CEO and his wife (nobody has names...yes, it's one of those kind of movies) seem to be taking this break-in pretty well. It helps that Segel is a large dude, hulking over the much smaller Plemons and Collins, but you wonder why the couple allows this to go on as long as it does, when there seems to be ample opportunities to escape.
If only the film itself provided the viewers with such luxuries. Even at 92 minutes, "Windfall" seems long and laborious. It's never quite clever enough to become interesting, and it doesn't even come close to scratching actual "thrills."
It's good to realize that the pandemic didn't totally shut-down the movie industry, but it's undeniable that it has produced a number of flat, forgettable movies like "Windfall," a movie that is so breezy and light that it feels instantly gone with the wind.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller.
Run Time: 1 hour 32 minutes.
Starring: Jason Segel, Lilly Collins, Jesse Plemons, Omar Leyva.
Directed by Charlie McDowell ("The Discovery," "The One I Love").
"Windfall" is streaming on Netflix on Friday, March 18th, 2022.
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