After catching Segel looting their house, Plemons and Collins are quickly threatened to submit to him as Plemons tries to negotiate their safety. It is clear that he and Collins are extremely wealthy, as they have at least $ 5,000 and a Rolex watch right at home.
At first this is enough for Segel, but after his first attempt to leave is recorded by a security camera and he in turn catches the couple as they leave the property, he returns to ask for more – half a million dollars, in fact, the which Plemons conscientiously asks his assistant via Skype to deliver to his home (he lies that it’s about another “Debbie”, implying a woman that Plemons apparently has to pay to get out of his life).
The thing is, it will take 24 hours for the money to be collected and delivered, which means that Segel, Collins and an increasingly manic Plemons will have to spend a whole day at home together. Lift up what the viewer expects to be the obligatory moments of the character, the confessions and revelations that always seem to happen in such conditions of pressure cooker.
And indeed, that is what we get – somehow. Segel’s motive is never revealed, although it is implied that it is a side effect of Plemons’s billions of inventions: an algorithm that helps companies streamline their operations and return to profitability by laying off unspeakable numbers of employees, a process defends Plemons.
While Segel, Plemons and Collins work hard here – sometimes more or less hard in the case of Plemons, after his finer work in The Power of the Dog – the characters fall into the standard slot machines that fit their generic names: Segel is the enigmatic, potentially dangerous stranger who sets things in motion, Plemons is a rogue CEO who hates “freeloaders” and wants “whatever” my fucking “, while Collins is the seemingly perfect husband who hides hidden regrets and resentments.
Windfall could have been more interesting if the characters had been written against the press, with Segel perhaps discovering that Plemons is not the hard-hearted, complacent, possessive bastard he seems to be (a desire he actually expresses later in the film). This would create at least a slightly fresher scenario and more ethical complexity than what McDowell and company offer here.
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