'Windfall' review: Kidnapping becomes a case of class warfare

Jason Segel, Jesse Plemons and Lily Collins star in contained Netflix drama.

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

A break-in leads to a robbery leads to a kidnapping of sorts in "Windfall," a jumbled daylit noir which has the bones of a Hitchcock thriller but the execution of something decidedly lesser. 

Jason Segel plays a nameless burglar — he's listed in the cast as Nobody — who breaks into a spacious vacation home in the countryside and helps himself to an expensive watch, relieves himself in the shower and makes his way toward the door. 

Jason Segel, Lily Collins and Jesse Plemons in "Windfall."

Before he can exit, the homeowners — also nameless, and played by Jesse Plemons and Lily Collins — make their entrance. The thief tries to make his way to the door but is spotted by the woman, and a routine robbery escalates into something more when Segel's character is forced to take the pair hostage in their own home. With no escape plan in place, they're forced to work something out together. 

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But this is more than a random burglary. Plemons plays an obscenely rich and magazine cover-famous CEO who buys companies, melts them down and flips what's left. Segel's character targeted the CEO but it isn't immediately clear why, and "Windfall" sets up a case of class warfare between the haves and the have-nots, and the takeback of power by the little guy.

"Windfall" is written by "Se7en's" Andrew Kevin Walker and Justin Lader ("The One I Love"), from a story by Walker, Lader, Segel and director Charlie McDowell. It's mostly dialogue-driven and explores the nature of its characters but skimps on their motivations, and the tension flags as the situation drags on and presents too many outs that go ignored. It hangs on a character turn that doesn't feel earned, and despite solid performances from its small cast, ends up feeling slight. Its bounty, in the end, is less than what's expected. 





Rated R: for language throughout and some violence

Running time: 92 minutes

On Netflix