Secret Window

Directed by David Koepp

> > Jul 2004

Secret Window - Directed by David Koepp
By Melissa MohauptSecret Window, based on a Stephen King short story, stars Johnny Depp as Mort Rainey, a mystery novelist squirreled away in an isolated cabin with only his thoughts, a blind dog and a stalker at the door. The inevitable comparisons to The Shining and Misery aside, this film hinges most of its credibility on its casting. Lucky then that Depp is such an engaging actor that many would pay to watch him pick his nose, since that's the bulk of his character's motivation. Mort takes many naps in response to his struggles with writer's block and his recent split with his cheating wife Amy (Maria Bello), who has left him for a friend (Timothy Hutton). Life gets worse when an evil yokel named John Shooter (John Turturro) appears, menacingly insisting Mort has plagiarised his story. Shooter forces Mort to show proof that his version was previously published or else bodies will start piling up, naturally. Although two of the best Stephen King film adaptations have come from his novellas, The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me (both taken from Different Seasons), Secret Window feels more like a simple idea scribbled on a cocktail napkin than a fleshed-out story arc. Writer/Director David Koepp (Stir of Echoes), who's better known as a screenwriter (Spiderman, Jurassic Park), tries in vain to recreate Hitchcock-ian creepiness through paranoia-inspired camera angles and a Philip Glass score. But the material itself foils his (and Depp's) attempts, and soon the winks, hints, facial ticks and red herrings are unable to mask the holes. The DVD's special features do little to generate more interest, which include tacked-on animated storyboards and three dull featurettes. "Secrets Revealed" is especially futile, considering they weren't well kept in the first place. The audio commentary by Koepp relays the same information, cementing the viewer's apathy. Plus: Deleted scenes, trailers. (Columbia TriStar)
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