Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger
Starring: Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, Charles Dutton, Kyle Allatt
Director: David Koepp
After PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN any film that stars Johnny Depp was going to be something to be sure to watch. SECRET WINDOW is not a big budget fantasy adventure but it is a film that revolves around a central character played by Depp so it gives the actor plenty of scope to develop the role and be the focus of attention.
Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) is a writer who has recently broken up with his wife after she had an affair with another man with whom she now lives. Mort lives on his own in a remote country location near a small town. He anonymously receives a manuscript which is almost identical to a story he wrote years earlier and not long afterwards receives a visit from a man named John Shooter claiming that he wrote the story first for which he wants two things, one being the credit for writing it and the other is that the ending should be altered. Mort denies stealing the story so Shooter threatens both him and his loved ones and to show he is serious he kills Mort’s dog.
SECRET WINDOW isn’t just an average ‘psycho on the loose’ thriller. It’s much deeper than that and it quite cleverly builds tension with the viewer never really knowing where the psycho will strike next. Director David Koepp uses this element to manipulate the viewer into some edge of the seat moments while almost never taking the camera off Depp. In turn Depp uses this to showcase his acting talent building his character and injecting some humorous nuances into it.
This all contributes to the big twist at the end and it is a BIG twist.
SECRET WINDOW is quite a clever little film. It’s not another PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, not in its genre or its enjoyment rating, but once again it gives Johnny Depp all the room he needs to act out a real ‘character’ of a role. He pulls it off memorably but the movie is not all it could have been because it does tend to rely on Depp’s acting abilities and although he doesn’t let the side down at all the film’s story simply isn’t big enough to shine through Depp’s excellent performance.