(Review originally written at 5 February 2010)

It are often the most simplistic movies that are the most tense ones. "Rear Window" is a movie with a very simple concept and the entire movie is set at just one location but yet it manages to become a great and tense, mystery/thriller.

This movie is voyeurism at its very best. In essence everybody is voyeuristic. People love to watch other people. Just like at all the reality shows we have got now days. Those shows exist because there is a popular demand for it, not because they are all so brilliant to watch. But everybody is just interested to look in other person's lives and when something strange or unusual occurs across the street you'll all be watching through the window to see what is going on or what happened. This movie seems to understand this human nature and it exploits it with a great story about a man who suspects his neighbor from across the street to have killed his wife.

It's a very simple concept that is being executed to the max. We as the viewers also don't know what has happened, since we, as well as the movie its main character, are stuck in this one room, that looks out on the rear side of a building-block. It makes the movie its mystery work out well, since we only get provided with little pieces of information all the time. It's pretty much a big mystery what had happened all across the street and if the neighbor is indeed guilty of killing his wife, or has she just simply left town, as he claims, for the fresh air to cure her illness. The movie can go either way with its story all of the time, which really adds to the overall tension and mystery of the movie. Hitchcock really manages to build up the mystery and tension well with this one.

This movie is also visually and technically a great accomplishment. Hitchcock has always been a director that tries on some new experimental stuff for its movies and found new ways to tell a story. This movie is entirely set at one location, that got build inside of a studio. A real accomplishment to build such a massive apartment complex inside a studio and work with this just one view for the entire movie.

The movie has Hitchcock regulars James Stewart and Grace Kelly as the main leads. It's especially a big and important role for Stewart, since he really has to carry this movie, as a temporarily wheelchair bounded photographer who has nothing else to do but to spy on his neighbors. Also Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr play some excellent roles.

One of the most unique and genuinely tense made thrillers from the master of suspense.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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