“Windfall” is a thriller drama that unfolds at a tech billionaire’s vacation villa. Drinking juice and smashing the glass, we watch a man walk through the property. Even though initially the audience is unaware of the man’s intention, it becomes clear when his escape is interrupted by the tech billionaire and his wife, who wanted to spend some quality time together. He planned to enjoy the property and take whatever he could get his hands on, but as man’s unending greed would have it, he ended up spending much of his time collecting cash, and eventually, he found a gun as well. Confronted by the property owners, the story takes a turn, and the three characters end up spending an excruciating amount of time together.
The three characters are quite simple to decipher: the tech billionaire, played by Jesse Plemons, complained about how difficult it was to be a rich white American man as the whole world seemed to be waiting for him to make a single mistake. He was a proud man for having achieved it all with his capabilities, and he despised those who did nothing but complain about the way the world worked. To summarize, he simply was blind to the privilege that he was born with and was not interested in learning about the larger social problems. There was a particular moment when he spoke about how people who were fired from his company had the feeling that the owner owed them something. He was repulsed by this notion of owing his ex-employees monetary benefit, he believed that they were too lazy to find another job. Throughout the “Windfall,” the man tried to instigate the robber to discuss his economic condition, trying to emerge as the charitable figure who helped a helpless man in need.
The robber, played by Jason Segel, entered the property to live the life of a billionaire for a few hours. By gorging on oranges picked up freshly from the orange trees in the garden, taking a piss in the shower, and just lazily moving across the vastness. The fact that the man does not belong in the space is established when he starts to clean the doorknobs. He simply wanted to grab the cash that was left lying around at the property. But when he spotted the security camera, he knew his day would turn out to be different. Even though the couple promised to help him, he always found them tricking him one way or another. It was just like another person from the corporate who initially seems helpful but, in reality, tries to find ways to use the situation to their advantage. We never get to know much about his person; was he an ex-employee who believed that the company owed him for his loss, or, just another human being who was just tired of the economic inequality that resides in our society; such questions are left unanswered.
The wife was a young woman who superficially seemed to enjoy the luxury she was surrounded by. She boasted about the charitable organization she headed. She tried to establish that the work she did was valuable in the real world. Perhaps, it was her way of telling herself that her contribution holds value and she is not a mere puppet in the hands of her husband and his company. The wife struggled with her identity. She wanted to believe that she was more than just the wife of a rich businessman. As she spoke about her work, her husband was quick to add that she would take an advisory role as soon as she gets pregnant, therefore, even though she preferred living in denial, her husband controlled her life. To save himself, the husband was ready to pimp his wife to the robber. The wife spoke about her fears to the robber when her husband was asleep. She was lured by the wealth. Marrying the tech billionaire meant that her life would be sorted, and she would not have to live a life of uncertainty. On the day of their marriage, she felt as if she stood in front of a line. A step towards the alter would result in a life of certainty and comfort, and a step away meant uncertainty. She chose the known path, the one that was less adventurous but safe. She knew that her husband did not think highly of her; she was just another accessory in his perfect life. Their marriage was a marriage of convenience. She took contraceptive pills to avoid pregnancy while he hoped to become a father.
The man knew that the wife was weak and would not escape given a chance, and she proved him right. When she stepped outside to bring in the money, she chose to not risk her life and scream for help. As the man was about to leave with the cash, she mentioned the tattoo she had on her feet—a rose tattoo, which she loved dearly but had removed. The man did not care, and he made it quite evident. This triggered the wife; she could relate to the man but was taken aback when he, too, pushed her aside. She was simply tired of how people treated her; she was always assumed to be someone incapable of taking a drastic step. She was frustrated with herself, frustrated making the right logical choices always. The need to rise and break free overpowered her logical mind, and she did the unexpected in the end. This path was risky, uncertain, troubling, but this path was freeing.
“Windfall” tries to comment on social and economic hierarchies but does so without significant depth. It ends up becoming an attempt and not much of a success. After an hour into the film, it almost becomes a drag. The climax results in an extremely dramatic turn that did not have a clear build-up. In all honesty, “Windfall” felt like a pretentious attempt at narrating a rather average story.