Secret Window

"Weak"

Secret Window Review


Secret Window, the umpteenth film based on a Stephen King novella (Secret Window, Secret Garden), shares a striking resemblance to one of King's best films, Misery. This time around, the writer is held captive in his own home by an obsessed fan who insists he rewrite the ending to one of his novels. Sound familiar? After Window's first few scenes, it seems the film is destined to be a remix of its predecessor. Yet, what we ultimately receive in Window is a clear disappointment, not because it follows a familiar formula, but because it lacks the suspense and action so prevalent in King's novels.

The fan, John Shooter (John Turturro), believes novelist Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) has plagiarized one of his novels. Shooter shows up at Rainey's rustic, upstate New York cabin ready to inflict whatever force necessary on Rainey until he admits to copying Shooter's work. Rainey is completely unprepared to deal with the situation. Rainey is struggling to come up with an idea for his latest novel and is dealing with the pain of his pending divorce to wife Amy (Maria Bello). When bad things start happening, Rainey immediately suspects Amy's home-wrecking boyfriend Ted (Timothy Hutton) could be the mastermind behind the madness. Rainey hires a private investigator (Charles S. Dutton) to sniff around the town, patrol his cabin at night, and conduct the investigative work Rainey himself is too lazy to do.

Rainey's sluggishness is a serious blow to his credibility and to the suspense of Secret Window. For half the film, we're witness to Rainey's monotonous routine of sleeping and eating, followed by smoking and sleeping some more. If this is an indicator of a novelist's life, then it's a very sad and pathetic existence, a message which Window clearly relays (as if we didn't get it from other King films).

When Shooter starts threatening Rainey's life, he shows little interest in resolving the situation and instead resorts to his old standbys. There is no suspense in this. In Misery, our hero takes action against his Number One Fan; in Window, Rainey can barely manage enough energy to get out of bed. He's so lethargic that he cannot even find the time to sign his divorce papers. His indolence is exhausting - where's the action? I lost interest somewhere in the middle of this film.

Window's big twist, if you're awake to see it, may help explain its tedious beginnings, but I didn't buy it. In Rainey's final monologue, he preaches that the ending is the most important part of the story. Clearly, there is no importance put on the ending of this film, and I would add that the inclusion of a surprise ending is no compensation for sloppy storytelling. I won't spoil the corny conclusion; however, I will tell you that what happens does not come as a complete surprise, especially when you consider the film's opening scenes.

Depp looks the disheveled writer's part well, but there is no exhibition of his talent here. His current popularity will draw people to this film, even if it is only to watch him sleepwalk through his part. As the villain with a Southern drawl, Turturro is more comical than he is frightening. Kathy Bates' Annie Wilkes could eat him for lunch.

Now there's an idea, Mr. King.

On DVD, a commentary track, four deleted scenes (check out the extended shot of the final scene... extra gore!), and various featurettes round out the disc.

Not very secret note on the secret window.



Secret Window

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th March 2004

Box Office USA: $47.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $92.9M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures, Grand Slam Productions, Pariah Entertainment Group

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Fresh: 74 Rotten: 86

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Mort Rainey, as John Shooter, as Amy Rainey, as Ted Milner, Charles S. Dutton as Ken Karsch, as Sheriff Dave Newsome, Joan Heney as Mrs. Garvey, John Dunn-Hill as Tom Greenleaf (as John Dunn Hill), as Fire Chief Wickersham, Matt Holland as Detective Bradley, Gillian Ferrabee as Fran Evans, Bronwen Mantel as Greta Bowie, Elizabeth Marleau as Juliet Stoker, Kyle Allatt as Busboy, Richard Jutras as Motel Manager

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.