Anna Fox (Amy Adams) is an agoraphobe living alone (though with a basement tenant played by Wyatt Russell) in a large brownstone in Manhattan after separating from her husband (Anthony Mackie), who has her daughter Olivia (Mariah Bozeman) with him. Her therapist (screenwriter Tracy Letts) has recently changed her medication, but she continues to drink too much despite being warned against doing so. Across the street the Russells are just moving in, which captures her interest as she spies on her neighbors. She winds up befriending son Ethan (Fred Hechinger) and wife Jane (Julianne Moore) and begins to suspect that something is amiss in their household, which is confirmed by the way the pair discuss Mr. Russell (Gary Oldman). One night, while intoxicated, she sees Jane get stabbed from across the street and calls 911, only for the Police (Brian Tyree Henry & Jeanine Serralles) to find no evidence of a crime, further corroborated by a new, different Jane Russell (Jennifer Jason Leigh). As further suspicious events occur, Anna begins to question her sanity while still trying to get to the truth.
Those who read the hit book when it debuted in 2018, and likely a good few who haven’t, won’t find any real surprises here, as the movie hews very close to the source material (which already had a somewhat predictable ending). As a result, the suspense is pretty lacking until the finale, though the film is not without its pleasures. Director Joe Wright’s staging is superb and makes excellent use of cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel’s keen eye. The cast is also universally excellent, but anyone familiar with the names mentioned above wouldn’t expect anything less from such a talented bunch. The townhome itself also manages to feel a little like another star, with the custom built structure allowing for some very striking moments.
It’s a shame then that it all doesn’t completely come together, as all of the pieces are there. Perhaps a few changes from the book could have made for a better movie, as some things don’t really translate as well from page to screen, but it’s still an above average film. If you’re in the mood for a mature thriller that riffs on the Hitchcock classic Rear Window you’d do well to give this a watch. ★★★★ – Sean Farrell
Rated R for violence and language.
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor