Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Voyeurs: Not Rear Window, But Still Worth Looking Through



We caught The Voyeurs -- not real people, the movie that just went up on Amazon Prime Video -- and enjoyed it.  It's been compared by critics -- unfavorably, of course -- to Hitchcock's 1954 masterful Rear Window, but it's still worth watching, looking through, choose your metaphor.

And though The Voyeurs lacks the dramatically harrowing tension of Rear Window, it's a pretty enthralling, attractive mystery, with some good surprises, mostly stacked up near the end.  The cinematography, the ambience, and the bodies all work well.

[SPOILERS AHEAD ...]

I guessed the first big surprise, and that gets at the one underlying problem in the plot.  I had a feeling Julia wasn't dead, and she and Seb were just acting that out to amuse and ensnare Pippa and Thomas.  I was also a little not quite believing that Thomas took his life, though the funeral made it clear that he was dead.  But in both Julia's and Thomas's cases, taking their own lives seemed a little extreme.  Yes, they would have been hurt, even devastated, by the infidelity of their partners, but there wasn't quite enough psychological development to make their suicides plausible, at least to me.

That said, though, I was impressed with what Pippa was able to pull on Seb and Julia in revenge.  That effective twist, a good way to cap off the movie, was due to Sydney Sweeney's convincing portrayal of Pippa as a sweet young woman with a raging libido just waiting to be tapped.  In all the scenes prior to her turning the tables on her tormentors, she was able to convey an interpersonal and erotic vulnerability.

Back to Hitchcock -- he's in a class by himself.  His movies are peerless, and François Truffaut's Hitchcock/Truffaut (1966), an extended interview with Hitchcock in which he talks about his many movies, is far and away the most instructive book about film I've ever read.  (I'll review the 2015 HBO documentary here soon.)  So don't let the primacy of Rear Window get in the way of your watching The Voyeurs, and enjoying it, if you have a heartbeat.


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