Why Are There No Names in Windfall?

Director Charlie McDowell weaves a predominantly character-driven story in the psychological thriller film, ‘Windfall.’ An interesting aspect of the movie is that it doesn’t give the real name of any of its characters except one, but that character doesn’t even appear on the screen. The movie’s three main characters are introduced as CEO/Husband, Wife, and Nobody. The CEO and the Wife come to visit their picturesque California vacation home where they encounter Nobody, a man who was trying to rob them while they were not there.

Things quickly escalate after Nobody discovers a surveillance camera embedded in a tree right outside the property. The petty theft suddenly transforms into a kidnapping and ransom situation. However, the story then develops in a bizarre manner as it becomes increasingly complicated to tell who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. If you are wondering why almost all the characters in ‘Windfall’ don’t have a name, this is what you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Why Are There No Names in Windfall?

All the characters that appear in the film don’t have a name. Besides the three protagonists, there is Gardener, whose sudden appearance further complicates the matter. The CEO tries to pass a message to Gardener, asking him to call 911. However, Nobody finds out about it and takes Gardener hostage as well. The only character with a name in the film is April, the CEO’s secretary, but she never appears on the screen. We only hear her speak when the CEO makes a video call to her, telling her to get $500,000 from the bank.

The omission of the name of a character or “no name given” is a relatively common trope in literature, films, TV shows, and plays. It automatically creates a sense of mystery around the narrative and the characters associated with it. In the 1957 film ’12 Angry Men,’ the real name of any of the characters isn’t revealed until the last sequence. In the 1978 neo-noir cult classic ‘The Driver,’ none of the characters’ names are given. ‘The Driver’ has inspired generations of filmmakers, including Quentin Tarantino, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Edgar Wright. In Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ films, the protagonist is known simply as the Bride.

In Refn’s 2011 action-drama ‘Drive,’ Ryan Gosling‘s character is known only as the Driver. The characters in the 2009 zombie comedy film ‘Zombieland‘ use the names of their respective hometowns so they will not form an emotional bond with each other. Before the zombie apocalypse, the characters call each other by their apartment numbers. The real name of the main character is never provided in the Cinemax series’ Banshee,’ and the actual name of the Doctor from ‘Dr. Who‘ remains as one of the biggest mysteries of fictional television.

What Are the Real Names of CEO / Husband, Nobody, and the Wife?

The real names of these characters are not provided in ‘Windfall,’ not even in the credits. However, their identities come to represent their personalities. Nobody’s motives to target the CEO largely remain unknown when the film ends. But we come to know about his deep-seated dislike for the other man. The CEO embodies the sociopathy and pettiness of the wealthy class, while the Wife represents both the desperation and hypocrisy of a trophy wife trapped in a loveless marriage.

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