Review – Rear Window (1998)

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rear_window_6761487I’m a big fan of Hitchcock, don’t get me wrong, but where other die-hard fans become so attached to him that they spew hatred to any of his remakes…that tends to get me a little upset. No one will ever do the originals justice, no, they are Hitchcock films, for crying out loud – but that doesn’t mean the remake is actually bad. It means you have a strong bias and can’t watch the remake as its own entity. I’ve seen both versions of Rear Window, and I remember liking both – but it’s been years since I’ve seen either. So I thought I would review them, starting with this movie. Why? Because I don’t want the same bias. I want to see this movie as it’s own thing before I move onto the original. I want to give both movies credit where credit is due. So the first question that I need to ask myself was – is this movie as good as I remembered it to be?

In this TV movie based off of the original film, Christopher Reeve plays Jason Kemp – an architect who has just been through a traumatic accident that has left him paralyzed from the neck down. In order just to get by, he uses his money to buy a “smart house”. You can call it a smart house, but it’s not technology-centric. Anyways, he has a lot of free time, so he spies on his neighbors and just watches them…live. That is until he hears a scream in the middle of the night. He assumes one of the neighbors committed murder, but he has no evidence. So he has to confront the killer himself.

Okay, so first things first. This movie isn’t the original, nor is it really trying to be. It’s paying tribute to Hitchcock while introducing a foreign element into the mix – and that is mostly Christopher Reeve. This is his first role since his horrible accident, and he should be commended for it. Seriously. This character isn’t Jason Kemp – it truly is Christopher Reeve. He’s not only paralyzed, but he remains hopeful that science will find a cure to his condition – something Reeve also believed and fought towards. You really have to give it to him when it came to acting. This man can’t rely on body language…all he has is his head, and even then, he struggles. Yet, he is able to convey fear, worry, and happiness just with what he’s doing with his face. He is a remarkable actor and the best part of this movie.

Other than Reeve who can’t use body language, almost everyone else has to rely solely on their body language. As a voyeur, he can’t hear his neighbors, only watch. So with a truly gripping and chilling soundtrack that fits perfectly with any Hitchcockian film, we watch the neighbors go about their lives using only their bodies to tell a story. For the most part, they all do a pretty decent job, albeit a bit over the top at times. The actual acting was only great when it came to Reeve, the rest were all simply okay – and in the ballpark of a TV movie.

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Now, onto where this movie went wrong. The suspense specifically wasn’t completely there. In a way, it was because it really exposed the harsh reality of Christopher Reeve’s condition – and how life threatening it really is – but as for the other characters, not so much. You see, Reeve’s character was constantly in a battle with his own body that even if there was no killer – he’d keep running into little things that would end up killing him in the long run. So no, I wasn’t really worried about the killer on the loose, unfortunately.

Finally, now this is what made me the most upset. I’ll be spoiling the ending now – so if you don’t already know the story of Rear Window, stop reading now – I just have to point this out. There is no ending. They never find the body. They suggest the body is in the artwork, as the first film suggests, but when they x-ray it, they find absolutely nothing. And that is how it ends. Why? What was the point of that? There was no point to open this up for discussion. Sometimes there is, but this is not the time! Trust me, that ending made me want to change my score…but I didn’t, because it’s only really one minute out of the movie. So…I digress.

Go see the movie, it’s currently streaming on Netflix. It’s not as bad as people put it out to be, and its often chilling to see Reeve struggle with this real life condition. You’ll be scared thinking they actually cut off his air supply in real life…because that’s how great of an actor he really is. It’s worth it to check out at least once. Let me know what you think of it!

Let me know what you think of it!

RATING: 7/10

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