Starring: Jesse Plemons, Jason Segel, and Lily Collins
Director: Charlie McDowell
Given its minimalist approach and confined setting, Windfall feels very much like a “made during COVID” movie. That vibe actually works really well for the film, which plays out like a Hitchcockian stage play (the excellent score does some heavy lifting towards that end too). The three leads are varying levels of good, but it’s Jesse Plemons who shines the most, finally getting away from the sad sack characters he most often portrays. Although the story could have gone deeper in a few places and it drags ever-so-slightly in the middle, Windfall kept me engaged throughout (mostly) on the back of Plemons’ performance.
When you’re releasing original films as often as Netflix does, you’re bound to get some misses. That’s exactly what Windfall is, a miss. This under-the-radar release has some good things going for it: an intriguing premise, a notable cast… but, instead, it flounders. The comedy isn’t funny, the thrills aren’t thrilling, and the whole thing just kind of happens. It’s nice seeing Jesse Plemons have fun in his role, but Jason Segel and Lily Collins especially feel miscast. Windfall had a chance to tell a story that built tension and intrigue throughout, but all it did was make me look at my watch.
Everything about Windfall is bizarrely captivating. The jazzy score is perfect for the offbeat humor that is tied to the story, while the clever script and dialogue maintain your interest. It’s nice to see Jason Segel play a slightly more serious role, although Jesse Plemons and Lily Collins stand out a bit more. In lesser hands, I think this film could have totally failed, but at the same time, I feel that it could have been better too. Even so, Windfall keeps your interest because of the talented performances, and it will have you chuckling in disbelief.