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Review: Overindulgent tech fest ‘Open Windows’ deserves defenestration

Sasha Grey in the movie "Open Windows."
(Jorge Alvari¿o / Cinedigm)

Before the tedious and convoluted cyber-thriller “Open Windows” is said and done, you may feel like jumping out of one. Despite its daring approach, this is annoying filmmaking of the first order from writer-director Nacho Vigalondo (“Timecrimes”).

In case you didn’t know, anyone can hack into virtually any computer, cellphone, security camera or the like — if they only know how. A tech wizard known as Chord (voiced by Neil Maskell) apparently has these powers of invasion, which he uses to wreak havoc against petulant movie star Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey) and everyman Nick Chambers (Elijah Wood), who runs a Goddard fan site.

But is world cyber-dominance actually Chord’s endgame? Or does he merely wish to control a sexy actress? And what of the trio of French hackers who intercede on Nick’s behalf? Are they good guys, bad guys or somewhere in between? So many questions.

As the twisty action, seen on the open windows on a laptop screen, proceeds down various rabbit holes, even the most tech-savvy viewers may be hard pressed to explain exactly what’s going on.

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The filmmaker clearly has a lot on his mind — issues of privacy, voyeurism, celebrity obsession and more. But this undeniably inventive film might have proven deeper and more involving if Vigalondo used the cyber-gimmickry in less dizzying doses and allowed the characters to exist in a full-frame, flesh-and-blood universe.

For a more gripping Elijah Wood thrill ride, check out the recent De Palma-esque “Grand Piano.”

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“Open Windows.”

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Playing: AMC Universal CityWalk Stadium 19. Also on VOD.


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