FiLM REViEW: Secret Window, 2004

Not happy with Identity, Teresa demanded that we watch another movie (which she fairly promptly fell asleep to!). That wound up being Secret Window, starring Johnny Depp.

Depp’s very popular, I believe. I know he can act (Dead Man, Fear & Loathing). But many films he’s in are too trashy for me (Pirates, etc.), and those perfume ads he does? Eugh! This odd little movie finds him a bit confused as to how to play his part.

Madly enough, straight after Identity, the opening sequence is shockingly deja-vu-ish: sleety snow replaces the rain, but we wind up at another dark, sleazy motel! This opening scene suggests a troubled mind.

Depp is Morton Rainey, a writer in the process of getting divorced, living in a remote and beautiful log cabin style luxury home out in the woods by a lake. Living a lazy bohemian life, with an elderly maid, and writer’s block.

Visited by a hat wearing hick, John Shooter, played by John Turturro, who accuses him of plagiarism, we quickly realise, as Mort tries to deal with the strange scenario, that he’s not a well man. In the end, then, the central conceit of Secret Window is very like that of Identity. Only where the chief character in the latter has multiple others to contend with, Mort just has the one, Shooter.

The denouement is both kind of obvious and predictable. Although, that said, it could go one of two ways. The way it goes is… well, that’d be spoiling it, wouldn’t it?

Watchable, but far from classic, and certainly not essential. Although I score them the same, I think of the two Identity is, perhaps, marginally better. But there’s not much in it.

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