The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Secret Window

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Judy Thorburn

Secret Window

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

NOVEL IDEA TURNS DEADLY IN “SECRET WINDOW”

Any filmmaker who is able to grab Johnny Depp as the star of their movie is not only lucky, but should be very happy.  Here is one versatile actor that has ability to uplift any film just by his performance alone. Just check out his film history, and I guarantee that even if you didn’t like the movie he happened to be in you still walked out remembering his work.   Rather than choosing to exploit his pretty boy looks for leading man romantic roles, Depp has taken risks in his career by downplaying his looks and creating some of the strangest (Edward Scissorhands) and offbeat (Ed Wood) characters on screen; the kind of roles that are rarely ventured into by other hunky male stars. There is no doubt having Depp as the star of a good flick will only heighten the experience.  Check out his Oscar nominated performance as the eccentric, swishy pirate in last years’ Pirates of the Caribbean- Curse of the Black Pearl. As entertaining as this fun adventure on the high seas was, would it have been the same without Depp as the star?  I don’t know, but what would this swashbuckling funfest been like with another male star such as, lets say Ben Affleck. Dare we go there?

That leads me to Secret Window, the new psychological mystery thriller based on the novella Secret Window, Secret Garden by the contemporary master of horror genre, Stephen King.  I am not a King fan (exception-I liked the Shawshank Redemption) and have not particularly enjoyed his style of macabre horror stories that venture into the dark side of the human psyche with plenty of scares, gore and numerous bloodied dead bodies.  But, I do like a good mystery thriller, one that keeps you guessing with plenty of suspense and twists.  What you can expect from Secret Window is a thriller that plays with your mind more than delivering visual shocks.  But, the best reason to catch this flick is because of Johnny Depp.  It is his presence that captivates the audience and keeps your attention over anything else.

Depp plays Morton Rainey, a popular mystery crime novelist who lives alone, except for his dog, Chico, in a secluded lakeside cabin in upstate New York. Six months earlier he found his wife, Amy (Maria Bello) in bed with her lover Ted (Timothy Hutton) which led to the Raineys’ separation and impending divorce.  Now, disheveled and wearing a tattered bathrobe, he sits by the computer with writer’s block when a stranger shows up at his front door claiming that Mort stole his story and even comes prepared with his own written manuscript to prove it.  This mystery intruder in Rainey’s life is angry at what he sees is plagiarism and demands that Rainey rewrite the ending or things will get ugly.  And, indeed, those threats prove deadly.

John Torturro is perfectly evil as John Shooter, the menacing man with the Mississippi twang and wide brimmed black hat, who refuses to go away, stalking Rainey and destroying everything he holds dear. The other supporting players, including Maria Bello and Timothy Hutton (he’s the inevitable red herring used to sway audience attention) are solid but are given little screen time.  Len Cariou is the arthritic Sheriff who cares more about his needlepoint than finding the villain, and Charles Dutton is the detective hired by Rainey for protection.

I won’t give much more away except to say that since the setting is at an isolated cabin in the woods and Mort has a pet, you don’t have to be a genius to figure out what is going to happen or who the first victim will be.  And the ending won’t come as much of a surprise if you pay close attention to the tell tale hints throughout the film that lead up to the final conclusion. They pop up everywhere.  Yet, although screenwriter (Panic Room) and director (Stir of Echoes) David Koepp doesn’t evoke that many chills, he has crafted an interesting adaptation with a strong supporting cast that makes this a worthwhile trip to the cinema.  Not exactly original, Secret Window evokes memories from films such as Misery, Identity and Swimming Pool. If you liked those thrillers, you will find this one appealing, since Secret Window has employed certain aspects that are very recognizable, and have now become almost cliché.

But credit belongs to Johnny Depp, who is in almost every frame.  He brings added idiosyncrasies to his characterization of the tormented writer that go beyond the written script, suggesting there is more than meets the eye.

At one point Depp’s character states “The most important part of the story is in the ending. And this one’s perfect”. In my opinion, the ending falls short of perfection. But, it is Depp’s appearance that stands out as the most important part of this film.  In the end, that’s the closest thing to perfection that you’ll get.