Rear Window

Rear Window ★★★★½

One of Alfred Hitchcock's best thrillers, Rear Window is a stunningly shot murder mystery that is a suspenseful and well-crafted tale. With a simple premise and precise filmmaking, Rear Window is a true classic.

Rear Window contains a lot about voyeurism. The lead characters revel in watching others, even though it's quite perverse the extent to which they peer into the lives of others. Yet, despite the intrusion in people's privacy, more than just the characters are Peeping Toms. Really, the entire audience becomes voyeurs to the events onscreen. When a disappearance becomes part of the story, the characters desperately want it to be murder and so do the audience, who are also spectators to these events. The glimpses of peoples' lives that are revealed are incomplete and it is only through speculation that a story forms. This lack of full knowledge feeds directly into the paranoia and suspense that makes Rear Window so intensely gripping.

The two leads, excellently played by James Stewart and Grace Kelly, are crucial to how the events are seen. They filter the spying and project their own thoughts into proceedings. They definitely see themselves in some of the other people they watch, especially as those people embody a lot of ways marriage or love affects people. We see the lonely, the happy, the liars, the truthful, and the murderous. James Stewart's character perhaps overanalyses marriage, but given the varied couples that make up his neighbours, can you blame him?

Rear Window takes place in one location and the stunning technicolour shots never leave the apartment buildings. There's some wonderful long takes that track the idiosyncrasies of all the characters in Rear Window. Yet those shots always cover the same buildings, and perfectly entraps the stories and the characters. No wonder it is one of the ultimate suspense films, and one that leads to a climax where James Stewart's character is seemingly trapped. Those final few scenes, particularly those of the approaching footsteps, are among the finest Hitchcock ever made.

Rear Window is one the finest films of its era, and one of many Hitchcock masterpieces. It is tense, fascinating, likeable, gripping, and exciting. It has a few interesting aspects worth analysing, but mostly Rear Window is a superb success due to its almost perfect storytelling prowess. It's just a Hollywood classic.

Side-note: The side story about Miss Lonelyhearts is really well done considering it's told with almost no dialogue. It's also a surprisingly depressing subplot for the most part.

Side-note 2: I rarely comment on how people look in films, but Grace Kelly is so beautiful in Rear Window. I also love all her outfits.

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