A wickedly funny and well-intended B-movie of a Netflix thriller.
Jason Segel plays a criminal who crashes into a vacation home, urinates in the shower, eats oranges from the orchard, and steals money. Much to his surprise, Jesse Plemons as a CEO and Lily Collins as his wife plan a weekend getaway. Nobody knows they’re there. But he does, and now he holds them hostage.
That’s the set-up to “Windfall,” a made-for-Netflix Hitchockian thriller from director Charlie McDowell (“The One I Love”), which seems routine and standard and it is. But it has some goofy dialogue that actually made me laugh harder than “Deep Water” on Hulu, and handles a punishment of the CEO of a major company in a low key way.
As the criminal holding them hostage, he requires more money-maybe like $150,000-but the couple suggests they give him more. The husband is trying to reason with the stranger, but he just wants to get his money. But his assistant can bring it tomorrow. So, they’re stuck tonight with him. That means, he can find out the wife was a gold digger, and that means the CEO can taunt the thief with his own perspectives of hard workers and freeloaders.
All the turmoil the couple find themselves in is given a score that has the scope of a TV drama and a 60s/70s thriller. Composers Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans both keep the tone on balanced scale and allows the art direction and cinematography to make it look like a thriller trying to be serious. It is serious, but it’s also silly and consistent.
The dialogue includes the CEO asking the criminal “What’s the plan?,” and he responds “The plan is for you to shut up.”
“That’s not much of a plan,” he says.
“Windfall” knows when to be wickedly funny and consistently serious. Maybe because of how Jason Segel has been breaking free from his comedy career (“How I Met Your Mother,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” etc.) to take on more serious roles (as demonstrated in “The End of the Tour” and “Our Friend”), and he also serves as a producer. He also gives searing performance in the ways he struggles to deal with the couple, and how he refuses to let them rat him out.
I think Lily Collins has blossomed into a lovely lady with a strong sense, in a tradition of “Emily in Paris,” and she also plays quite well as the wife, who has more sense than the husband.
And Plemons does a good job at playing the jerky CEO. In fact, he’s good in almost all artisan features (“The Irishman,” “The Power of the Dog,” etc.). Looking at him in “Windfall,” he seems to enjoy himself playing the talker trying to talk his way out of the hostage crisis.
Again, it’s not a perfect movie, because of how tedious and routine it has to be at times in the story, but then again, when I shared my “Cheaper by the Dozen” review on Facebook, I got a comment that said: “not alot of movies are “neccessary” but they deserve to be made to entertain us.”
“Windfall” will divide you on Facebook, depending on how you view it. One person can look at it a different way, and another can look at it another way. I saw it as a B-movie with an attitude and humor, and how the wife has to grasp with the reality of her choices. And I think it’s clear who the real villain is.
Streaming on Netflix