Movie #55 2020: Rear Window (1954)

I don’t even know where to start with this one.

Obviously a classic, Rear Window is just one of those movies I’d never been compelled to watch before. But my God, I was blown away.

Often regarded as one of Alfred Hitchcock‘s top five movies, this is the story of a dashing man named L.B. Jefferies (played by James Stewart), who is bound to his own apartment with a broken leg when he suddenly observes some strange goings on when he peers through his window.

With the supporting cast including everyone’s favourite princess after Diana, Grace Kelly, I don’t even feel the need to mention how perfect each and every performance was. I will say this, though: they are outstanding. Kelly and Stewart particularly shine in scenes in which they argue, and every other scene therein.

Now, I can’t claim to know enough about the technical aspects of film to know what kind of film or camera this was shot on, but the colours are so brilliantly vibrant that it’s a sight for sore eyes. The opening shot which circles the apartment complex – the only setting throughout the entire movie – is just gorgeous and possibly one of the most famous opening establishing shots of all time. In one fell swoop it gives the viewer a glimpse into each character’s life without any of them even speaking. It is just a simply genius directorial choice.

Something that we all know often rears its head in Hitchcock’s movie is the theme of voyeurism. Rear Window however is unique in that it forces the viewer themselves to become the voyeur of a voyeur. This is such an interesting concept that I’m not actually sure I’ve seen used anywhere else. It’s almost as if the viewer is Jeffries – something that is hard to explain to someone who has never seen this movie – and this is where the brilliance lies.

What I especially love about this film is that there are no fancy effects, only one place setting throughout, no unnecessary dialogue to fill any silent gaps, some really effortlessly funny moments… For me, this is a piece of simple, uninterrupted, perfect cinema. It is, in fact, probably the closest to perfect movie I’ve seen so far this year. Every bit of it is absolutely needed, has its place, and there is no fluff whatsoever.

I’m not sure that I’ll ever get over how brilliant it is.

Rear Window is available on Sky Cinema and NowTV in the UK.

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