"The Man and the Window"
Director: Andrew Wagner
Screenplay by: Andrew Wagner
Music by: Mychael Danna
Elias Koteas as Martin
Lance Reddick as Raymond
Embeth Davidtz as Jessica Morris
Clifton Collins, Jr. as Morton Jeffrey
Synopsis: At a second-rate prison, Martin acts as the enforcer to keep the inmates in their prison cells until they are taken away to another prison, are acquitted, or are put to death. One day, a media-buzzed killer named Raymond Bolton arrives at the prison. Martin is only too happy to accept, as he is ready to tell this evil and cruel killer who that crime doesn’t pay
Raymond is taken to the only cell with its own window. At first Raymond doesn’t talk at all, and Martin is left personally to supervise him. After a week, attorney Morton Jeffrey arrives to ask questions about Raymond’s crime and motivation to kill three people. While Martin is there to supervise, he only grows more curious and disgusted with this killer.
Once Raymond and Martin are alone, Martin starts to ask Raymond questions about who he is. Raymond is ready to answer his questions, at first thinking it is like another press conference. But after a while Raymond talks about things he wouldn’t say to anyone. His previous life in which he was a good high school student and ready for college, but his parents’ sudden death and need for money let his dreams slip away and his new life start. Martin is only intrigued when he hears his story and is at once skeptical and sympathetic. Martin tells his story of how he left his family to take a “promotion” here. He thought he would help the world, but is now only aware that he cleans up after the people who do. He also says he wonders about his ex-wife and daughter. Where they are and what they are doing.
When Martin shares this with Raymond, they both see more not only in each other, but in themselves. As Raymond’s death sentence is coming up, Martin is trying to figure out why this man, this killer, has as much feeling and soul as he does. Most of the time Raymond just stares out his window, leaving Martin wondering about both their futures.
A week before Raymond is to die reporter Jessica Morris is sent from a local news station to interview and do a story on him. Raymond is reluctant to cooperate, but pressure from Morris is overwhelming and he talks. As the interview goes on, Martin becomes aware of Morris’s tactics of pinning crimes on Raymond that he didn’t even do, making him a scapegoat for all crime. Martin feels Raymond’s nervousness and forcefully stops the interview, putting Morris and her crew in shock. Raymond continues to look out the window.
When Martin arrives the next day he sees that Raymond isn’t there. The attorney Jeffrey is there, saying that this case was taking too long and his sentence was moved four days ahead of schedule. Martin rushes to the other side of town to try and see Raymond before he dies. He runs into Morris there finishing her story and asks her where he is. But it’s too late. Raymond had been executed half an hour earlier.
As he goes back to the prison, he remembers his last view of Raymond, staring out the window, watching life pass by and knowing it would continue even when he was gone.
What the Press would say:
Andrew Wagner may not be one of the best known directors in Hollywood, but his critically acclaimed and moving STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING shows that he has a long career ahead of him. As he did in the film mentioned before, he shows that he has an unbelievable talent of looking at a character and getting into their souls. This is not more apparent then in his newest film THE MAN AND THE WINDOW in which he brings two characters seemingly from different sides of life into full view. The good and the bad parts of the characters are brought to life through the carefully crafted script, and the amazing if subtle performances of Elias Koteas and Lance Reddick. Koteas has an expression for every moment in the film, even when he is not the central figure in the scene; he is able to convey disappointment and understanding throughout and has an uncanny ability to keep his character interesting even when he is not saying anything. Lance Reddick uses his penetrating stare and sheer size to create his character. His cerebral attitude is apparent in every scene he is in, and makes magic in the film. The limited performance of Embeth Davidtz is not without reason and is in some of the most emotional scenes in the film. She creates and entire feeling in the few minutes she is in the film. Wagner’s script delivers powerful messages and questions. Things like, what it means to be good, and that there is no person that is just evil. If there is one word to describe the film, it is quiet. The film is a quiet masterpiece letting the viewer in to see something new in everyday life.
Best Actor (Elias Koteas)
Best Supporting Actor (Lance Reddick)
Best Supporting Actress (Embeth Davidtz)
Best Director (Andrew Wagner)
Best Screenplay (Andrew Wagner)