March 14, 2004

Secret Window

(Edited to add an extended entry)

Well, what have we here? Is it another Hollywood movie based on a story by Stephen King?


Secret Window is based off of Stephen King's novella "Secret Window, Secret Garden" from the book Four Past Midnight. It stars Johnny Depp and several other known actors. I have never heard of the directer, David Koepp, before now. It appears that he has helped write several movies.

Ok, I have tried three times now to be objective in the rest of my review and I am failing miserably. Time to just give my opinions.

I absolutely loved this movie. I left the theater smiling and a grin still comes to my face when I think about the movie. Unlike most movies based on a work by King, this was done very well. The director stayed extremely close to the story. He only seemed to veer off when it was needed for the transition from paper to film. The ending was quite different from the original, but it still stayed within the story (which is something you probably won't understand unless you have read it). The pace felt a bit slow at times, but the pace of the story was also slow.

Johnny Depp gave an excellent performance in his role of Mort Rainey. John Turturro played John Shooter a bit more "hick-ish" than I would have liked. Half of the audience in the theater laughed almost continuously at the accent. Of course, this was the same half that talked throughout the entire damn movie (I wonder if that is why I liked it so much...the ending shut them all up). Maria Bello fit the role of Amy Rainey absolutely perfectly.

If you enjoy suspense movies I recommend this one. If you are worried about it being based on a Stephen King story, don't worry about it. This story isn't the typical King. By that I mean there is not so much a focus on "horror" as there is on other things.

Go see it.

WARNING: If you choose to continue reading (by clicking on the link), you will read spoilers about the movie. Consider yourself warned.

Once again, if you are still reading this you will read spoilers about the movie.

Thinking more about the movie, I have realized that there are some areas that might remain unclear in the minds of those who haven't read the novella. Now, those holes were filled in by my brain quite quickly during the movie and I didn't think twice about the confusion it might cause in others. I'm hoping to clarify a few of those things here.

1. Tom Greenleaf's "I-went-that-way-and-saw-you-no-wait-no-I-didn't" claims

Tom Greenleaf is an old man who is terrified of Alzheimer's. In the book he is mortified if he even forgets where he lays down a paintbrush. He did drive and pass Mort and John on that road. When he drove by, he only saw Mort. As he looked in his rearview mirror, however, he saw a transparent John. He had been trying to convince himself that he did not see John at all.

2. Massive amounts of corn being eaten

The story Mort wrote which John claims was stolen from him ends with the lead character eating ear after ear of corn in an attempt to get rid of his murdered wife. The corn is growing directly over her body. This is why I said that the ending was changed but it was kept within the story. If the sheriff had been familiar with Mort's writings he would know exactly how to connect Mort to the disappearances.

3. That thing that only happened once

Mort did steal someone's story before. It happened shortly after he got out of college. In the movie, he was apparently caught and sorted through the matter with his victim. In the novella, he is never caught and his guilt over it helps produce Shooter.

I remember thinking that there were some other things that could need clarifying, but nothing else is coming to mind. If you have seen the movie and had questions, I hope this might clear up some of them.

Posted by Randy at March 14, 2004 01:00 AM | TrackBack