Rear Window is one of the greatest work of Alfred Hitchcock and an excellent part of his experimental period. It has a very challenging concept - the audience watches almost the entire movie from the main character's rear window and that technique made Hitchcock's Rear Window a legend. The movie is focused on viewer's reaction to tension and suspense. It is persuasive, because the director puts the audience into main character's shoes.
Jeff has broken his leg and is forced to stay home for more than 7 weeks already. He has nothing to do, so he starts to be Peeping Tom, watching his neighbors all day long and learning everything about each one of them. Later, he notices a strange behavior of one of the neighbors, salesman Thorwald, and eventually Jeff starts suspecting him in committing a homicide. Nobody has seen salesman's wife for a while and he kept a saw and knives in the apartment. There are some serious evidence against him, so Jeff calls his old friend, who happens to be a detective.
The detective investigates everything and tries to convince Jeff that the salesman is innocent. His arguments are strong and the audience and the main character are not so sure anymore. But there is one scene that lasts less than three seconds, that totally changes main character's mind and the audience believes it as well.
When the neighbor's dog dies, everyone was worried about it and started to open heir windows to see who is screaming. But there is only one person who is staying silent in his apartment. The salesman is alone in the darkness and the only light in the whole apartment comes from his cigarette. At this moment the audience understands that the man is guilty. The scene differs from the others, because up to this moment the audience and Jeff were watching the salesman without being noticed. But now we cannot be sure, because the light is so dark, we don't know if the salesman is looking at 'us'. It creates suspense and changes the direction of Jeff's thoughts. He is not convinced by the detective anymore, he is one hundred percent sure Mr. Thorwald is a murderer.
The director chose to have a very low lightning, because the darkness makes people afraid, it is in their nature. Usually, all the scenes in the suspense movies, which make people scared, take place at night time. The salesman is in the dark and it makes him a dominant figure in the scene - he cannot be seen, and the audience doesn't know if their observed object is aware of being watched. Hitchcock made him smoke a cigarette, because it represents self-analyzing, so there are no doubts now, that the man is rethinking what terrible things he did. The static image of a window and a bright light of a cigarette creates a successful effect of suspense and viewer's participation in the scene.
Lightning gives a deeper meaning to the viewer than expected. When the lights are on, the audience can see what exactly people are doing in the their apartments, but when it is off - like in that salesman's scene, the audience cannot know what is happening and it creates a very strong effect. This visual representation is clear and simple, but meanwhile it gives an understanding of character's emotions and feelings.
Perspective always plays an important role in the movie. All the neighbor's stories are seen through their windows and it makes the audience feel they see something forbidden and private. So when they observe salesman smoking in his apartment, the perspective creates the effect of their direct participation in the story and lets them understand how the main character feels. Visual representation of this film would not influence the audience that much without lightning and perspective.
Each Hitchcock's shot is a masterpiece, he doesn't want to do things in the ordinary way. He gives the feeling of mystery by making all the shots special. The master inspires us with the visual techniques and a viewer recognizes his unique signatures in every movie. His work is a pure cinematography, he was able to make the audience feel helpless, afraid, happy, lost and terrified by what is going to happen next. He made them the part of the action itself by creating a realistic atmosphere with the help of different cinematographic techniques. Rear Window has a strong message, brilliant actors, stunning visuals, great music and smart dialogues.