- David Koepp,
- David Koepp, Stephen King,
- Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, Charles S. Dutton, Len Cariou, Joan Heney,
- Mort Rainey, a writer just emerging from a painful divorce with his ex-wife, is stalked at his remote lake house by a psychotic stranger and would-be scribe who claims Rainey swiped his best story idea. But as Rainey endeavors to prove his innocence, he begins to question his own sanity.
"The only thing that matters is the ending," says Rainey toward the end of the movie. He's talking about the writers' craft. Koepp, despite the best efforts of his cast, sends this comment soaring into the ether of irony.
This movie is a suspense thriller whose only suspense comes from an audience wondering if the picture will hit its promised 97-minute running time.
A potent psychological thriller bolstered by strong performances and an offbeat sense of humor. What renders it an unsettling cut above many thrillers is the casting of Johnny Depp in the lead.
In the end Secret Window asks too much, demands allegiance when only incredulity can be mustered.
The resourceful actor (Depp) invigorates Secret Window with a playful personality and wryly humorous aplomb not front-and-center in the script, making the psycho-suspenser more compelling than it might otherwise have been.
Depp gives a smart, subtle performance, and Turturro is terrific as a foe who's both exactly what he seems and exactly the opposite. Koepp's makes his (literally) corny tricks seemfresh and surprising.
"The only thing that matters is the ending," Mort declares in the closing seconds, just as the director is serving up a colossal (and literally corny) stinker. But for Depp, it's yet another daunting mission accomplished with wit and ingenuity.
You can boost mediocrity a little, but you cannot raise it from the dead.
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