Why There Are So Many Shots Of Feet In Windfall (What They All Mean)

Warning! SPOILERS for Windfall.

Windfall is a Hitchcockian home invasion thriller, but one of the movie’s more mysterious aspects is why there are so many shots of feet in the Netflix film. The story involves a haphazard home invasion that leads to a tense showdown when the owners unexpectedly arrive. The movie characters in Windfall have no names, allowing them to represent allegorical roles in the film’s deeper social commentary. However, it is Windfall‘s focus on feet that raises the most questions.

The story begins with a home invasion by a man listed in the credits as Nobody (Jason Segel), before the owners arrive, escalating the break-in to a hostage situation. The vacation home belongs to the CEO (Jesse Plemons) of a tech company responsible for putting Nobody out of a job, and he is joined by his humanitarian wife (Lily Collins). A single location contains the narrative, setting the stage for commentary on class and gender roles in America.

With only the vacation home as a location and a cast of just four characters, there are limited shot choices available. This makes the overabundance of images of the character’s feet even more intriguing. There are several reasons for their inclusion, such as highlighting key traits as well as adding extra layers to characters. As a result, the focus on feet serves both as a crucial plot point in the narrative and hints as to the film’s deeper meaning. Understanding the significance of feet also helps explain Windfall’s ending.

The Wife’s Story

While speaking with Nobody, the wife shares the story of her wedding day, which is significant to understand the importance of feet in the narrative. She recalls “standing there, staring down at my feet” while deciding whether to go down the aisle and get married, or turn and walk away from that path. This sets up the significance of feet and how they represent the steps taken in the choices each character makes for the direction of their lives. The wife looks at her feet before nearly deciding to escape with the ransom money, and the film ends with a shot of her feet following the decision to kill both men. There is also a shot of Nobody’s feet before he makes the fateful decision to return to tell the CEO his reason for the break-in, rather than choosing to just leave with the money.

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The Characters’ Status

Jason Segel feet in Windfall

Each character’s status in Windfall is also conveyed by their choice of footwear. This doesn’t merely depict class level but instead informs us of personality traits and the character’s approach to life. The wife is pristinely dressed, including her shoes which convey her trophy wife role for the CEO. The CEO has comfortable sneakers, unconcerned with impressing people and aware that his wealth talks volumes regardless of what he wears. Nobody has nondescript brown shoes, fitting for the name given to the character, but it is relevant that the shoelaces are repeatedly coming undone. His life has unraveled, and it is preventing him from moving forward, just as the untied shoelaces interrupt Nobody’s from taking steps toward any path. The wife takes the opportunity to attack Nobody when he stops to tie the shoelaces one last time before leaving.

Control Over Characters

Jesse Plemons feet in Windfall

As is often the case in the home invasion subgenre, with rare exceptions like Crawl, characters are tied up as a means of control. With the significance of feet established by the wife’s story, shots of them bound during the home invasion take on additional importance. The wife’s foot is also the focus of symbolic control, containing the remnants of a tattoo removed at the request of the CEO, though we learn that the wife longs to free herself from these restraints. Along with admitting to Nobody that she loved the tattoo, the wife is secretly taking birth control pills to prevent any additional ties to the relationship. The wife literally unbinds herself from this control by cutting the bindings with a piece of broken glass, and figuratively when this allows her to eliminate both men and set out on a path of her own choosing at the end of Windfall.

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