Projections - Movie Reviews
Secret Window
Starring Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, Charles S. Dutton, Len Cariou

Johnny Depp’s quirky, idiosyncrasies are played up nicely in Stephen King’s latest thriller. He plays Mort Rainey, a best selling author holed up in his lakefront cabin.

In the midst of a divorce after catching his wife in a motel with another man, Rainey’s life is on a down-ward spiral.

Feeling sorry for himself, he spends his time schlepping around in a ratty bathrobe, hair arranged in Depp’s usual style of calculated chaos and sneaking smokes between long naps curled up on his living room sofa.

Rainey’s quiet existence gets shaken when a tall strange looking man named Shooter (John Turturro) shows up on his door step. He’s wearing all black with a wide-brimmed black hat and he accuses Rainey of stealing his story. He claims that a short murder mystery by the name of Secret Window was actually written by him and he wants Rainey to make things right by changing the ending. What that actually means, isn’t spelled out, but Shooter is no one to fool around with, as Rainey soon finds out.

Shooter leaves him his story and when Rainey gets around to reading it, he discovers that its almost identical to his own printed version. How can that be? Rainey sets out to prove that he’s the real author before Shooter makes good on his deadly threats.

The setting of the cabin in the woods lends itself beautifully to enhancing an ominous feeling. A second floor loft that overlooks a large living room with numerous mirrors, is where most of the action takes place. A fleeting image can be glimpsed in the shadows, or a creaking wood staircase that leads to a dark room were anyone can easily hide, adds up to some pretty sinister situations.

Maria Bello plays Rainey’s estranged wife, Timothy Hutton is her new boyfriend and Charles S. Dutton plays a private investigator whom Rainey hires to check out crazy Shooter.

Director David Koepp, who directed the creepy Kevin Bacon film Stir of Echoes, uses all the bells and whistles available in his buildup of suspense here. Broken light bulbs, strange sounds, eerie music and the stranger creeping up behind an unsuspecting Rainey, are all used to great advantage. However, its Depp’s wonderful performance that really elevates this thriller.

He talks to himself, mimics his housekeeper, acts confused and half drunk, in short he totally becomes this character, and greatly increases the enjoyment of watching one of the better King mysteries.

 
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Secret Window
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