I love Stephen King and the wonderfully twisty stories he comes up with. He’s no doubt one of the most talented writers in history. The film adaptations that have been made from his work seldom disappoint me. I knew of Secret Window but had never actually sat down and watched it and there’s a reason for that. Much to his fans’ chagrin I’m sure, I’m not a big fan of Johnny Depp and him being in a film will actually discourage me from seeing it. But I must say that while he’s for sure not my favorite, this film is pretty good.
Johnny Depp has always come off as rather dull and while some find his famous quirkiness charming, I never really did. I’ve purposefully avoided Depp’s films in the recent years because of my personal dislike for his style. BUT I must say that while I’m still not a big fan, he did turn in a good performance as this film’s lead. His character is a writer who is in bad place and is going through a bitter divorce after finding his wife in bed with another man six months ago. Depp shines in specific moments…. the moments where his character is pushed to the brim. The more intense scenes are the ones Depp handles the best, for sure.
John Turturro plays the antagonist in the film and he does a very nice job playing this country hick from out of town who is willing to do anything to get what he wants out of Depp’s character. Turturro is the kind of actor that is able to pull off an offbeat character and have it seem effortless. Maria Bello and Timothy Hutton play supporting characters and while Bello did what she needed to do I’ll say that Hutton, who I loved in The Haunting of Hill House, gives a very skilled performance as one of Depp’s “enemies”.
While yes, overall the performances are pretty good, the thing that makes this film successful is the story it tells and the way that it tells it. When I sit down to watch a thriller I always wonder how the film will end and what route it will take to get to that ending. When the source material is by Stephen King, I wonder even more. King is of course famous for the twisted content and creative material in his writing and Secret Window is no exception. Yes, there is twisted psychological material that comes into play and I won’t say what that content is but I was overall pleased with it. Some of the eventual ending was guessable for sure but I thought the way they pulled it off and chose to do it was satisfying enough. Now I want to be clear here, this film does recycle some things from other thrillers of this variety but I don’t necessarily fault any film for being a bit predictable just as long as they do it well and with a least a little uniqueness. There are thrills to be had and twists to enjoy, but I do have some gripes with the plot.
One of the details in the film’s plot is that Turturro’s character is from Mississippi but I felt that his accent and his mannerisms were a bit hokey and too stereotypical, he veered into caricature at times. I also wasn’t a big fan of Depp’s behavior at the end of the film. I, of course, won’t give anything away but things became a little cheesy and I feel like it hurt the film’s impact. Let me be clear though, I like the film’s ending and what they did but like I said some of Depp’s acting there at the end came off as cheesy to me. To me, this film fits into a middle category when it comes to the ranking of psychological thrillers, it’s not great but it’s also by no means a bad film, it’s overall…pretty good. I was never bored and the film’s narrative did keep me interested, I just think there were some details they could’ve improved on to make the film a superior one.
Secret Window has it’s flaws and there are for sure better entries in this genre for you to watch, but all things considered, it is a pretty entertaining film with some twisty plot developments.
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