After the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp returned to the low key non-blockbuster movies with this movie based on Stephen King’s short story Secret Window, Secret Garden from the Four Past Midnight collection.
Contrary to popular belief, Tim Burton did not direct this one. I know, it had Johnny Depp so I can see how you’d think that, but it was really directed by David Koepp.
I had seen it a few years ago and found it enjoyable for the most part, though it’s weakest point was the ending (ironic given how much emphasis is put on how the ending is the most important part in any story), but watching it again it didn’t bother me as much as it did the first time.
The plot revolves around Mort Rainey, a writer who is accused of plagiarism (something that has happened to King himself on occasion) by a mysterious man named John Shooter. Things slowly escalate as Shooter terrorizes Rainey in an attempt to settle things between them.
I liked the movie. The two leads, Depp and John Turturro, are both great and the scenes with them are the highlights of the film. Turturro’s “accent” could’ve easily destroyed any menace in Shooter’s character, but somehow it just works in this movie.
Timothy Hutton also stars in the movie. He has a small part but given his starring role in the film adaptation of The Dark Half it’s an amusing coincidence to those familiar with the plot twist.
Speaking of which, like Fight Club, knowing the ending didn’t ruin it for me. A lot of times, knowing the huge reveal takes some of the fun out of watching a movie a second time. It happened to me with Memento (though it is still a very good film) as well as Batman Begins. With this film, it’s still an exciting moment just for the way that it’s presented.
I don’t know if I’d qualify the movie as “scary”. There are a few suspenseful moments and the few “jump scare” moments are only moderately effective. It doesn’t detract from the movie as there is enough in other departments to make the movie enjoyable.
With all the King adaptations out there, this one kind of gets buried. The cast elevates it quite a bit, without them the movie would be mediocre at best but all the actors play their parts well. Watching the special features, the director points out a visual cue that’s supposed to act as a hint to what’s really going on. I have to admit I rolled my eyes on that one. I guess it’s better to have that than just a half hearted, audience insulting twist at the last minute like we saw in the recent My Bloody Valentine remake, but it just came off as wrong to me somehow.
Overall, it’s good. I suggest checking it out.