Here’s a review of Secret Window (2004) by Emma of EmmaKWall for our October Kingathon.
Tnx to Emma fir this contribution and also for getting the ball rolling for this whole Blogathon idea! 🙂
*this review contains spoilers*
Secret Window is based on the novella ‘Secret Window, Secret Garden’ from King’s Four Past Midnight collection. It tells the story of writer Mort (Johnny Depp) who, whilst trying to avoid finalising his divorce in the solitude of his country home, is accused of plagurism by the mysterious and sinister John Shooter (John Turturro).
This isn’t one of King’s strongest film adaptations but it’s still a lot of fun and much of this is down to Johnny Depp’s performance.
Mort isn’t the happiest of guys, in the middle of separating from his wife (Maria Bello) who has left him for the smug and annoying Ted (Timothy Hutton) he cuts himself off from the world in his (rather nice) forest house.
And there he dwells, whilst trying to write a new book (a lot of people say this is really a story for writers – detailing their struggles perfectly) until the scary John Shooter comes along and shows him one of his stories that appears to be exactly the same as a short story Mort wrote previously, Secret Window. Shooter gives him three days to find the proof that Mort did indeed write the story first, otherwise….I’m not too sure, but something very unpleasant is likely to happen.
As Mort refuses to back down to Shooter – and his wife and Ted – things get weirder and Mort gets stranger – and far more sinister. Though he’s a very likable sort of character, even when some less-than-savoury truths come out about him. He likes napping, he doesn’t like taking crap from people. He has a cool house and a cool dog (for a while at least…). And I love Depp’s look as Mort – the glasses and the hair really suit him. Certainly better than the Willy Wonka look anyway.
The storyline is typical Stephen King stuff, though some have argued the ending is a bit obvious. Depp plays the role so well though, going from a confused and sarcastic guy to an out-and-out nutjob. But such a nice nutjob. He really is likeable.
The story isn’t the scariest, one even the biggest of wimps could probably watch on a cold, winter night (maybe with a cushion handy). It’s more a film with a mystery (hence the title I guess) and completely centres around Mort, played fantastically by Johnny Depp. Or have I already mentioned that once or twice?
I only say it’s not King’s strongest adaptation because it just doesn’t have the punch of some of his classics, but Secret Window is still very entertaining and at 96 minutes doesn’t over stay its welcome. All the peformances are strong and the atmosphere is nicely mysterious with moments of both genuine comedy and real tension.