Secret Window (2004)


The surprise twist in the end concerning our character Mort isn’t really surprising when you come to think of it in the end. It’s unexpected, that’s for sure, but it’s also very expected, an expected twist to a story that isn’t even that interesting. You’ll most likely assume to your partner what the ending is at the first thirty minutes of the movie, and then in the end you’ll be right. What a shame. You’ll more than likely find this derivative as I did with the laughable ending which was such a horrible mimic of “The Shining.” The story which was basically a take off from “The Dark Half,” and one question came to mind when the climax of “Secret Window” finally approached. Is Stephen King just repeating himself? I was honestly stunned and a bit amused when the ending finally came, because it was so derivative of past King stories.

This also unfortunately follows all the usual clichés of a horror film; the car that won’t start when you need it to, the slamming doors, dead animals, inept police force that doesn’t catch on to the actual plot up until the right time. The story is hardly worthy of anything called suspense because there’s nothing really suspenseful during the events happening to Mort. Not a single moment invoked anything called tension. John Turturro is not a really believable villain, Charles S. Dutton is basically wasted as are Maria Bello, and Timothy Hutton who are supposed to have pivotal roles in the movie though they don’t really serve any purpose. Depp steals the movie with a good performance that is a variety of creepy, and eccentricity as Mort Rainey this obviously troubled man seeking to adjust his own mind through his writing.

I loved the surreal sets of homages to artist Rene Magritte, through excellent imagery and camera play, as Mort slowly loses his mind. A lot of the story is basically rambling with things that happen that basically have no point to it. I never found what the point was of a lot of the scenes here to make much sense and the ultimate delivery is shorthanded and disappointing with a story that didn’t make a lot of sense from the beginning. We always get the idea that the events here seem to be leading to something big, but when they do, it doesn’t. Johnny Depp is the saving grace of a sub-par, often boring mystery film with a spirited performance.