Friday, September 09, 2005

Rear Window

Film: Rear Window (1954)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Tagline: Seeing isn't always believing.
Rating: **** out of 5 stars

I would never use the words "Alfred Hitchcock" and "overrated" in the same sentence. His films absolutely live up to all their hype. I've always been a fan of Psycho, and it was almost ousted as my favorite Hitch film by Rear Window last night (almost...but more on that later). Its ideas on voyeurism, privacy, and self-reflexivity were pretty ahead of its time. All the actors gave outstanding performances, especially Grace Kelly, who surprised me most. I did not expect the film to develop such strong female characters, and they were not merely there to satisfy female viewers, but served as important factors in the story and the message it presented.

It is also nice to watch an older film and find yourself laughing. The movie was quite amusing, and boy was it tense! I found myself on the edge of my seat multiple times. Window may be even more suspenseful than Psycho, methinks. However, one big flaw knocked it down a peg for me - the ending. The movie built itself up for a potentially awesome ending, and just didn't pursue it. Instead, we get the cop-out Hollywood happy ending. That bugged me. The film is still great, but it could've been better had it ended on a darker note.

I don't want to end this blog negatively since the film is just fantastic, so I'll comment on the wonderful technical aspects. Hitchcock's use of music and sound - AMAZING. All the sound is diegetic (comes from within the world in the movie) which served the film's purpose ideally. The mise-en-scene was meaningful and appealing to the eyes - I especially love how there is always action somewhere on camera and characters move in and out of the frame simultansouly. I liked the use of the same technique in Do The Right Thing (even if Spike Lee is a douche). In terms of cinematography, the film is flawless. The use of light and shadows, the shot compositions, the subjective angles, etc etc. All perfectly constructed and perfectly suited to the story being told.

If only the ending had been a little different. Tis a shame. Perhaps I am looking at it entirely wrong. It wasn't a bad ending by any means - just not the one I wanted, I suppose.


atoep said...

"The movie built itself up for a potentially awesome ending, and just didn't pursue it."

What exactly would this potentially awesome ending be?

Heather said...

I specifically didn't say cause of that "I'll try to keep it spoiler-free" thing. Saying what isn't the ending might ruin what is :-P

Rick B said...

Its been awhile since I have seen this, but I think I agree with everything you said Heather. Marvelous movie, but the ending felt a little lacking. It felt like they took the easy way out. It just didn't seem to fit with the build-up of the movie.
Stick a great movie though. Hitchcock rules!!!

Heather said...

Yeah, the ending was either a total Hollywood cop-out or a really good mindfuck, lol. I'm not sure with Hitchcock :-P