The Importance of Movie Endings (Rear Window review)

*CAUTION: Contains mild spoilers and a controversial opinion about a Hitchcock classic*

Endings of a film, in my opinion, can make or break a film. Se7en is one of my favourite films for the simple reason that the final act is a phenomenal triumph, full of tension, and complete with a fantastic twist (“What’s in the box?”). For this reason, I approached Rear Window (1954) with great excitement. Billed as one of Hitchcock’s all time classics, the back of the DVD claimed that the film leads to “one of the most memorable and gripping endings in all of film history.” I began watching, and was quickly hooked to the action. All filmed from one ‘rear window’, the film follows J.B Jefferies (James Stewart) as he watches over the flat opposite his apartment, nicknaming the occupants and judging their actions. The pace is heightened when it appears as though one of the neighbours, a travelling salesman, has murdered his wife. With the help of his girlfriend (Grace Kelly), they begin to judge all of the salesman’s actions, all from his movements past the windows. Events lead to the finale, where it seems the truth of the voyeuristic film will be revealed.

From this film, I learnt two things. Firstly, nobody in this neighbourhood owns curtains. Secondly however, I learnt that Hitchcock doesn’t always deliver a twist ending, as shown in Vertigo or Psycho. While the film itself was a fantastic illustration of the fascination humans feel towards others, the ending was, at least personally, a let-down. I hoped for a shock, instead I got exactly what the protagonists thought was happening throughout. The guilty man…was guilty.

Perhaps this is an insight into my own character. Rather than being doubtful of their idea of events, I was sympathetic towards the protagonists views. Or maybe I should have avoided the DVD blurb, and allowed my mind to be open to any ending possible. I guess that the ending was more about them triumphing over the salesman, rather than a twist revealing the truth of what was seemingly happening.

Whatever the case may be, I do not deny that the film was anything but gripping and massively entertaining. I was however, let down by the relative emptiness of the conclusion.

7 Stars

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