Secret Window Reviews
You may or may not have guessed this, but this film has a twist ending. And while the twist isn't bad, I think the film could have been far more interesting had there been no twist. For that to work though, other parts of the story would have to be rewritten and that sort of thing, but what I'm getting at is that, while the film isn't that bad, it's not really all that great either, and it doesn't really hold up to much scrutiny or repeat viewings.
As a single watch though, it's passable. I enjoyed seeing the stakes get raised between Mort and John, and the film does have a good sense of mood, tone, and atmosphere, and a pretty decent pace. It just gets to me because many films that contain twists are usually full of holes, and I get the feeling that the novella probably doesn't have these sort of problems, mostly because of the medium and whatnot.
All in all though, I give this film a lot of credit because, even though the story is nothing fresh and it isn't infallible, it is quite fun, watchble, and entertaining. Philip Glass provides a pretty nice score, and Koepp seems to be having fun as the helmer. Plus, there's a good cast here, even though it would be better seeing them here with some stronger material.
Still though, Depp is good as this sort of thing, and his character is rather likeable (mostly), and Turturro, though maybe phoning it in, is also good at this sort of thing as well. I just wish that Dutton had more screentime and stuff to do, and that more could have been done with Hutton and Bello. What time these three do have is okay, but Hutton probably has the shortest end of the stick (they probably could have gotten a lesser known and it would have been better). Hutton isn't bad, but he feels unnecessary.
Honestly, I should dock this one a half star, but I can't really bring myself to do it because the good outweigh the bad.
Mort Rainey, a successful author, is passing through a hard period in his life. After catching his wife sleeping with another man, they separate and he moves away from the city to somewhere in the country. One day a man appears at his door, presenting himself as John Shooter, and accuses Mort of copying a story from him. Although Mort believes things can be solved once he shows Shooter the original version, which had appeared two years before Shooter's version, written in 1997, while Rainey's was published in early 1995. He can't seem to be able to get an original copy in the time limit set by Shooter. Strange things then start happening that prevent him from receiving the needed original, and Mort tries to find out who Shooter really is and if he is responsible for the things that have been happening.
From writer/director David Koepp (Stir of Echoes) comes this filmed adaptation of Stephen King's novella Secret Window, Secret Garden, one of four stories in the collection Four Past Midnight. Johnny Depp stars as Mort Rainey, a recently divorced author who decides to take some time off at his cottage. Unfortunately for Rainey, John Shooter (John Turturro), an unbalanced wannabe writer, tracks him down, claiming that Rainey plagiarized his work. Also starring Maria Bello, Charles S. Dutton, and Timothy Hutton, Secret Window is the second story from Four Past Midnight to be adapted as a film, the first being 1995's made-for-television The Langoliers.
"Based on a book by Stephen King" can be a blessing or a curse. In this case it's actually neither. There are good performances by the actors and Johnny Depp is fabulous as always, portraying a writer struggling with writer's block after he caught his wife cheating on him. Now he's being threatened by a mysterious hick who claims his story was stolen by Depp's character Morton Rainey. The tension is good in the first half of the film. The thing is, I figured the plot out quite soon, staying a step ahead every time. The film just wasn't fast enough. Depp's performance carries the whole film and without him, this would be another failed King adaption. Now it's just a well-acted thriller, but not top-drawer.