Saturday, January 31, 2009

Films I Love: Rear Window (1954)

Spying on your neighbors becomes an art form in this classic film directed by the legendary master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. Without giving out too much of the plot the film deals with the suspicion of a wheelchair bound photographer that a murder has been committed in his neighborhood. He has the vantage point of the view from a rear window in his apartment. He can see clearly a collection of city characters that come and go about their lives. But his roving eye catches some funny business going on in one of the apartments. He shares this with his upper crust fiancee Grace Kelly and his nurse Thelma Ritter and all three become involved in trying to solve the crime. What follows is a superb sequence of twists and turns that keep you fixed on the screen for the whole duration of the film. 55 years after this film made its debut critics still consider it to be one of the best suspense thrillers ever made.

I will add that this film is still relevant today. An underlying theme dealing with the loneliness and isolation experienced by many in a big city environment is very apparent. Without realizing it we live in a society that glorifies voyeurism in the forms of reality shows, youtube confessions and celebrity gossip. We all have rear windows where we can spy on people and pass judgement on them. But above all it is a very entertaining intelligent film, it plays beautifully against your sense of expectation, seamless from beginning to end, like a good crime story should be!