The Neighbors' Window

The Neighbors' Window ★½

It seems like this is another year where the worst live-action short is the American one, and it's likely going to be the winner. Anyone reading this can gauge how unexcited I am, especially with something as terrible as The Neighbor's Window being this year's potential winner. With only a running time of 20 minutes, this short manages to be one of the most manipulative pieces of cinema I've seen. Not only is it amateurish in its production, but the script continually forces its message and "feel sad!!" vibes. There's nothing wrong with a short saddening its viewers, but The Neighbor's Window doesn't earn any of it. The only emotion I felt was frustration at every turn.

The script isn't the only aspect holding this short back from any genuine experience; the acting is also laughably atrocious. Despite this short wanting to engross its audience with its tone, the overly theatrical and incompetent performances ruin any drama. Every scene feels like the first take and the line delivery shifts from flat to overbearing without any middle-ground. It doesn't help that the production of this short comes across as a second-rate commercial, with no engaging visual style or a score that doesn't push for more manipulation.

The only aspect of this film that prevents me from disliking it further is the usage of "Nobody Else Will Be There" by The National. Not only is it a great track, but it fits with the material so well that it made me wonder if the song got composed for this short. Plus, it acts as a break from the atrocious acting. Unfortunately, the rest is frustrating to sit through. There are plenty of ways to make voyeurism engaging, particularly as a metaphor for social media obsession, but The Neighbor's Window squandered that potential. It's a dull and irritating experience all at once, and The National deserves better.