|Secret Window (2004)
Starring: Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton
Johnny Depp simply is one of the best actors today, with his magical ability to change any film from rust to gold. The latest display of his talents is “Secret Window,” a mediocre thriller taken from the pages of a Stephen King story, spiced up by Depp’s low-key humor and modest down-with-Hollywood attitude. Depp stars in King’s latest cash machine as Mort Rainey, a sour writer who has been struggling with a divorce from his wife Amy (Maria Bello) after her hotel affair with new beau Ted (Timothy Hutton) had been exposed six months earlier.
Mort is awakened one morning by a knock on his secluded cabin door and discovers a stranger named John Shooter (John Turturro) waiting on his front porch, claiming that Mort has stolen one of his short stories. Shooter insists that he won’t back down until he is proven wrong. Mort tragically underestimates Shooter’s sanity and soon becomes the target of a number of threatening crimes while he attempts to track down a copy of the literary journal where his story first appeared.
There’s more to “Secret Window” than the trailers imply and soon enough Mort finds himself questioning what kind of enemy he really has made. In the end, the audience will surely be surprised by the results, but most likely won’t be disappointed. I haven’t read the Stephen King novella “Secret Window, Secret Garden” on which the film was based, but it seems that director/writer David Koepp has done one of the best page-to-screen King adaptations yet, choosing a story with much more character involvement over one with lots of gore and horror.
Johnny Depp, who has always been a top-notch actor, continues his string of memorable performances as the strange but extremely likeable Mort Rainey who adds comedic bits to a role that would have been dried up without him. With the help of Depp, “Secret Window” isn’t just your run-of-the-mill thriller/suspense film. Instead, it’s a solid story backed by a brilliant performance and what the film would call “the perfect ending.”