Saturday, 26 March 2011

Rear Window - Film review

(image courtesy of

A photographer who has a broken leg cannot leave his flat, and spends his time watching his neighbours. He believes one of his neighbours has killed their wife, dedicates his recovery to proving it. Eventually his girlfriend and nurse join him in trying to discover the truth.

The viewer never leaves the flat of the photographer, they only view his neighbours from his window. This allows them to share in his feeling of claustrophobia and being trapped, and makes them understand and sympathise with his desire to observe and even participate in the lives of others in order to escape from his boredom. The fact that the setting never changes makes this film perfect for a studio set. This set has been well designed, so that the activity in each flat can be seen, even when zoomed out and looking at the block of flats as a whole, which is really effective. All of the other flats are seen from the point of view of the photographer, either with his naked eye, binoculars or his long lens camera.

The fact that he is viewing his neighbours from outside means that he can’t see everything that they do, and adds to the mystery and confusion later on when he thinks that his neighbour is a murderer.

I think that using just the one set for these purposes is a very clever concept and works really well which helps the viewer empathise with the main characters point of view.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the film, especially considering that it is over 50 years old. This is even supported by the user ratings on, as it has been rated number 21 in the top rated films with over 100,000 votes.

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