One of the latest Netflix original thrillers released relatively quietly in mid-March and generated little-to-no buzz. “Windfall” is another in a slew of Netflix Originals meant to justify its ever-increasing rates. Starring Jason Segel, Lily Collins and Jesse Plemons, this suspenseful film takes us through the mind of a criminal looking to take back a little of what they feel was stolen from the public. On paper, this sounds phenomenal but ultimately amounts to little more than an excuse to film during a pandemic.
Set in what appears to be late-stage capitalist California, easily mistaken for the hills of Sicily, the movie begins with Jason Segal’s nameless character casually strolling through a villa surrounded by orange trees. We watch as his character reenacts a calm life consisting of doing nothing much at all. Then, after retreating indoors, the plot begins to unfold, and we discover that Jason Segal’s character is a burglar. While he attempts to escape, the wealthy CEO, played by Jesse Plemons, and his wife, played by Lily Collins, return home early.
The burglar is left with no option but a haphazard hostage situation. Then, as things do, the situation spirals out of control. It continues this frantic spiral, leaving the audience guessing, probably incorrectly, about what is going to happen next. Even the burglar seemed to have no idea which path the situation would take, often leading to the CEO providing guidance on what to do next. With little direction, this film repeatedly crawls forward and feels as if it might just end at any given moment for no reason whatsoever throughout its ninety-two-minute runtime.
Though “Windfall” was beautifully shot and brilliantly acted, it ultimately falls short in providing enough momentum to keep an audience engaged while also staying true to its arthouse feel. Perhaps it was being greeted with an unusually somber character portrayed by Jason Segel, a traditionally positive character, or the all-too-realistic plot initially driven by the actions of a greedy individual causing widespread suffering for their own wealth, but “Windfall” repeatedly invokes a strong, disturbing feeling that you might not shake. If you’re looking for a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, this is not the movie to watch. If you’re looking for a film that provides an eerie view into the neofeudalistic future of capitalism disrupted by automation, this will keep you entertained for at least half of the time it’s running.