4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Creepy Thriller
Johnny Depp stars in the movie, based on Stephen King's short story "Secret Window, Secret Garden". The movie starts with Depp's character walking in on his wife having an affair and he goes crazy. The story begins six months later. He is in the process of divorcing his wife and lives alone in a isolated cabin near a lake. Depp plays an author, Mort, and the...
Published on June 26 2004 by Robert W. Kalteux
3.0 out of 5 stars I'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE AND MUCH BETTER
SOMEHOW THE WRITER AND DIRECTOR OF THIS MOVIE HASNT BEEN CHARGED WITH PLAGERISM. FOLLOWING IN THE TRADITION OF MOVIES LIKE PRIMAL FEAR, IDENTITY, AND EVEN FIGHT CLUB, THIS IS YET ANOTHER TIRED SPIN ON THE CENTRAL CHARACTER HAVING MULTIPLE PERSONALITY SYNDROME. BUT UNLIKE THE PREVIOUS MOVIES, WHICH BOTHERED TO SET UP INTERESTING AND WELL WRITTEN CHARACTERS, THIS FILM GETS...
Published on Aug. 12 2004 by jason
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Creepy Thriller,
Johnny Depp stars in the movie, based on Stephen King's short story "Secret Window, Secret Garden". The movie starts with Depp's character walking in on his wife having an affair and he goes crazy. The story begins six months later. He is in the process of divorcing his wife and lives alone in a isolated cabin near a lake. Depp plays an author, Mort, and the movie starts slowly as he tries to write a story and talks to his dog. A stranger comes to the door claiming that Mort stole his story and Depp dismisses him. The guy keeps popping up and claiming Mort stole his story and violent things start to happen. Mort's dog is found dead, then his old house that his wife lives in is burned down. Mort tries to talk to a sheriff and hires a private investigator but still the mysterios stranger Jake Shooter continues to confront him. The movie doesn't sound special but it is well made with an excellent ending. The actors say on the behind the scenes footage that also comes on the DVD that as they read the script they were completely suprised by the ending. Mort is a very interesting and unusual character. He has become isolated since he and his wife seperated. He has weird dream scenes and is paranoid. He thinks to himself but refers to himself as you. He is a great character well played by Depp. This movie was unexpectedly good and one of the best movies of the year in my opinion.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Depp's Best Performances on a Very Good Dvd!,
I saw this movie in theater and liked it a lot, so it's no surprise that I went out and bought it today. It may not say Special Edition on the cover, but this Dvd has as many extras as most Deluxe Edtions. The Featurettes are interesting and informative and run over an hour combined. My favorite being the Secrets Revealed segment that really helps put certain things in place and make sense after viewing the film for the first time. Now to Mr. Johnny Depp! Depp has been one of my favorite actors long before Jack Sparrow came out into public view, and the performance as Mort in this little film ranks #2 of all his roles in my opinion (Right behind "Pirates of the Carribean" of couse). The supporting cast, direction, and music are very strong as well. It's just nice to see a thriller that takes its time to build up to the twisted conclusion, without the mindless gore (which at times is good) and the paper thin characters. The casual and huge Johnny Depp fans who enjoy a good psychological thriller should buy this one, everyone else should at least rent it to see what an amazing actor they have been missing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about the ending..nothing matters but the ending...,
I thought "Secret Window" was a fantastic movie. Ebert & Ropert gave the film two thumbs up and I couldn't agree more. Johnny Depp plays the lead character Mort Rainey. Mort is a novel writer who is confronted by a man named John Shooter(John Tuturro). Shooter claims that Mort stole his story and ruined the ending to it. Shooter refuses to leave Mort alone until he fixes the ending of his story. Depp is outstanding in the movie and his performance alone is enough to recommend the movie. Some have claimed the film's pace to be too slow, but I feel it is very methodically and wonderfully paced.One of Depp's brilliant lines in the movie is " It's all about the ending. Nothing matters but the ending. And this one is very good...this one is perfect." I thought that line is an excellent description of the movie's great ending and "secret" twist. I will definitely be buying this DVD when it arrives on June 22. I also strongly recommend Depp in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Blow". Depp is outstanding in both films. Secret Window..some windows should never be opened..
3.0 out of 5 stars I'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE AND MUCH BETTER,
SOMEHOW THE WRITER AND DIRECTOR OF THIS MOVIE HASNT BEEN CHARGED WITH PLAGERISM. FOLLOWING IN THE TRADITION OF MOVIES LIKE PRIMAL FEAR, IDENTITY, AND EVEN FIGHT CLUB, THIS IS YET ANOTHER TIRED SPIN ON THE CENTRAL CHARACTER HAVING MULTIPLE PERSONALITY SYNDROME. BUT UNLIKE THE PREVIOUS MOVIES, WHICH BOTHERED TO SET UP INTERESTING AND WELL WRITTEN CHARACTERS, THIS FILM GETS LAZY AND FOR SOME REASON THINKS THE "ULTIMATE TWIST" AT THE END OF THE FILM IS ENOUGH TO KEEP VIEWERS ENTERTAINED. JOHNNY DEPP IS WELL WORTH WATCHING BUT SEEMS WRONG FOR THE ROLE AND DESERVES A MUCH MORE INTERESTING CHANCE TO BE PARANOID AND SUPERSTITIOUS. HIS PERFORMANCE IN THE EXCEPTIONAL THRILLER NICK OF TIME WAS FLAWLESS AND MADE AUDIENCES CARE ABOUT HIS CHARACTER BECAUSE OF THE CHARACTERS VULNRABILITY HIS CHARACTER IN THIS MOVIE IS SO LAID BACK, HE ALMOST LOOKS LIKE HE IS ABOUT TO FALL ASLEEP. TIMOTHY HUTTON ALSO DESERVES MUCH BETTER AND CHARLES S. DUTTONS CHARACTER IS SO EVAUSIVE AND POINTLESS ITS HARD TO REMEMBER HOW GOOD HE WAS IN NICK OF TIME WITH JOHNNY. THIS IS A SORRY EFFORT FROM A PROMISING DIRECTOR AND WRITER OF THE MUCH MORE COMPELLING STIR OF ECHOES AND SADLY EVEN PANIC ROOM. THE LOOK OF THIS FILM IS A PERFECT LOCATION FOR A TAUGHT THRILLER FROM A STEPHEN KING NOVEL, BUT THE DIRECTOR JUST DOESNT MANAGE TO PULL OF THE FEELING OF CREEPY WOODS OR EVEN ISOLATION AS MANY POINTLESS CHARACTERS SEEM TO POP UP OUT OF NOWHERE AND DISAPPEAR WITH NO ANSWERS AS TO WHERE THEY WENT OR EVEN WHO THEY WERE. EXAMPLE; WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MYSTERIOUS ASSISTANT OF JOHNNYS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FILM. NUMEROUS DIRECTIONS IN WHICH WAY THIS PLOT COULD HAVE GONE AND BEEN ORIGINAL AND INTERESTING ARE SADLY CLOSED OF AND THIS MOVIE TAKES OFF REMARKABLY SLOWLY DOWN A DEAD END STREET.
4.0 out of 5 stars Expected A Little More Than Given...,
Overall this film kept me right on the edge of the seat, and that's why I give it the four stars. Jonny Depp was great in this movie. He looked exactly like a writer- tousled hair, hilariously tattered robe, the works. He worked the part of a lonely writer perfectly. He played this 'lonely writer' who is obviously still tortured about his wife's infidelity and their divorce they are finishing through, and then to add to his problems a guy comes to his door and claims he stole his story. Throughout the entire movie I was kept in suspense, because I honestly didn't know what was going to be the solution of this plot.
And yet the solution is where I dropped one star. The ending was a total killer for me. I don't know why, but in the back of my mind I made the assumption that this guy accusing Depp's character of plagirism was a lot more than he turned out to be. I won't ruin the ending for people who haven't seen it, but trust me, the ending is not explosive, not surprising, not anything. It's just a dull 'oh yeah' kind of ending. But all in all, the beginning and middle of this film are gripping and awesome, so the movie's worth that much to watch it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but better than expected,
I didn't even want to watch this movie. I wasn't compelled to see it in the theater and I wasn't enthusiastic about it once the DVD showed up in the house.
But then I watched the first fifteen minutes . . . and, well, it got interesting. As others have noted, Depp's acting is, as usual, superb. The man is one of the best actors we have at this time. And the story does pull you in. The characters are well drawn (as is the case with most King novels) and viewers will want to see what happens to them as the story progresses.
However, the story itself and Stephen King's reputation are part of the problem.
"Secret Window" was based on a King novella within the larger work "Four Past Midnight." For some reason, King's novellas and shorter novels (Stand By Me, Shawshank, The Shining, Carrie) have translated the best to film while his longer works (The Stand, Tommyknockers) are utterly horrible. Given this track record, "Secret Window" should have been one of the better King movies. The problem here is that "Four Past Midnight" was never an example of King's better work. Thus, in a sense, the director has to rescue the movie from the perception of King as the "master of horror." When you have the deck stacked against you like that it's hard to come through with the goods. "Secret Window" is basically a love triangle in which one of the characters goes nuts. A plausible story, but it's difficult to present a story as routine as this is in a manner that will satisfy the hype.
"Secret Window" is a good movie. It's just not great. And it's certanly not worthy of all the King hype. Still, it's worth a look. Depp's acting is especially worth watching. And the story, if you're in the mood, is a bit scary at times.
As for the DVD, it's also worth a look. The deleted scenes are nothing special, but the featurette sequences are interesting, more so in fact than most such extras on other DVDs. Far too often we get DVDs which show us scene after boring scene showing us the technical aspects of how a movie was filmed. Here we at least get a brief glance at some of the human interest aspects behind the camera. I would have liked to have seen an interview with the author, but that seems to be a rarity amongst all DVDs. I think that all movies adapted from books should have this extra feature (assuming the author is still alive).
3.0 out of 5 stars Depp's great performance ruined by a stupid 3rd act twist...,
After seeing Pirates of the Carribean, I think I would have liked just about anything Depp did that didn't involve him overacting in a bad Keith Richards impersonation (yes, I'm one of the 3 people who despised that movie). So the crackerjack hokeyness of writer/director David Koepp's Stephen King adaptation was a welcome change for the most part. Depp reminded me why he's such a valuable commodity as a star, composer Phillip Glass does an excellent tribute to Bernard Herrmann (redeeming himself for the worst score of the year, Taking Lives), and the whole alone-in-a-lakeside-cottage-with-writer's-block deal is perfect for a popcorn thriller. Secret Window is a blast for its first two-thirds if you get caught up in the trappings of the genre in which it indulges and don't expect much. But even I, who was really enjoying myself, couldn't get over the film's twist ending which simply fails miserably, to put it lightly. (Mild spoilers: if you haven't seen it, stop reading here) Koepp's screenplay and direction expect us to believe two different sides to Depp's character, and when he's played with such likeable nonchalance for most of the movie, his tribute to Nicholson's Jack Torrance just comes off as comical. I guess I could just blame it on the story, "Secret Window," around which the movie revolves, but that would be letting it off too easily. Someone I know described the end of the film as "annoying," and I couldn't agree more. Too bad, because it sank a potentially good flick. GRADE: C
3.0 out of 5 stars Not So Secret SECRET WINDOW,
Johnny Depp is Mort Rainey, a writer with problems. John Turturro is John Shooter, a black-hatted stranger, who accuses Depp of stealing his story, and there begins the tale.
It is a testament to Johnny Depp's acting ability that even in not so great movies, we are compelled to watch him. Unfortunately this adaptation of a Stephen King novella is just no match for Depp's acting ability. John Turturro, Timothy Hutton, and Maria Bello do fine acting jobs with what they are given. However there is just not enough material for a full theatrical release film, even a short one, by today's standards, as this one is. Within 20 minutes of the film's opening we can guess the secret of THE SECRET WINDOW. This story would have made a better half hour TWILIGHT ZONE episode or another suspense anthology series, if there were any on television today. The plot is boring and rather paint-by-numberish, including the death of the beloved pet. There is no secret to THE SECRET WINDOW and I prefer King's ending to the story (SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN in FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT) to the ending used in this film.
5.0 out of 5 stars Plagiarism--a conjecture about Secret Window and King,
SPOILERS AHEAD DANGER WILL ROBINSON! SPOILERS AHEAD
Well, whoops, the whole theory below got shot down by the fact that in King's story "Secret Window Secret Garden", the wife escaped. I was wrong. Sorry. The theory might still make sense if it was the filmmakers (possibly with King's involvement) who decided to make the wife-death plot change and Shining allusions harmonious with the plagiarism theme.
Some people are annoyed that this movie has the same plot twist as Fight Club. BUT Fight Club the book came out in '96 and Stephen King's story "Secret Window Secret Garden" came out, I believe, in '91 or '92.
So the question is, who plagiarized who ;)
Of course you all get the smiley face. This movie is about plagiarism, among other things.
Notice how much this movie resembles "The Shining", especially that scene at the end where Mort's wife walks in to the cabin and sees "Shooter" and "Shoot Her" all over the walls. That scene is shot in the exact same choppy way that Kubrick filmed the analagous scenes in The Shining.
Well, it makes me think... the key difference between this movie and The Shining is that in this movie, the crazy husband SUCCEEDS in killing his wife.
So I wonder... back then in the late 80s, early 90s, there's Stephen King realizing that he's beginning to plagiarize himself. So he thinks to himself... "I wrote The Shining. But at the end I copped out and let the wife live. I really... wanted to... KILL HER! Hmm... I should fix my ending and put the ending I actually, secretly wanted in the book"
So King realizes this and writes a tragic in-joke of a novella about a writer who has to "fix the ending" of a story that he plagiarized from himself, but then copped out from because of cowardice.
Of course it's just a conjecture (thanks to Lisa for helping me work it out). But I find it a fascinating possibility, and it makes the movie 10 times better for me.
And wow, Johnny Depp! I've never seen any actor get so well inside the skin of a neurotic, depressed artist who's falling apart--from the endless napping to the battles with the pack of cigarettes to the nervous twiches and cowardice and obsessive replaying of a spouse's infidelity.
The exploration of a man's cowardly inability to cope with his own obsessive vengefulness enters a territory movies rarely plumb.
Another thing--I've never seen any movie blend comedy and horror so well.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great... if you've read the book,
I read the book before i saw the movie & when i saw it i was with my friend, who hadn't read it. & i was sitting there thinking... this would be really confusing if i hadn't read the book. There was a whole major part that happened when Mort Rainey was in college that was left out & it explained a WHOLE lot.
If you haven't seen the movie or read the book... then go read the book first. It's a novella in the huge book Four Past Midnight by Stephen King. If you've seen the movie but not read the book then i don't know if it's too late to read it. You will probably have a hard time imagining anybody other than Johnny Depp as Mort Rainey. That was the book that got me hooked on Stephen King though.
There was one part in the movie that was better than in the book though... & that was the ending. In the book some random guy comes & saves the day but in the movie it's way better (i won't spoil it for y'all). It is a GREAT ending in the movie!!!
Overall it was great but read the book first if you haven't seen the movie (Four Past Midnight by Stephen King)!
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Secret Window [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) by David Koepp (Blu-ray - 2007)
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