FAW: Secret Window (2004)

I have Star Trek, The Internship and The Great Gatsby to review and after a month’s dry streak I have to admit that what actually got me back to blogging is a film nearly a decade old. It has Johnny Depp, though. So I guess it’s understandable.

FAW stands for Films About Writers. It’s a feature.

Last night I was at my mum’s couch, nearly asleep, and Secret Window started. I’ve never seen Johnny Depp as a writer in a film even though I know he’s done that at least thrice. It peaked my interest.

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The plot’s this: Johnny Depp1 portrays a writer, currently suffering from writer’s block, hiding away at a remote cabin. He’s got issues with his wife, having found her a cheater half a year earlier; with her current boyfriend who she was cheating  on him with; and with a creepy Mississippi farmer Shooter who’s accusing him of plagiarism. And then things get more interesting and a whole lot darker.

The actors are excellent and that’s not merely Johnny Depp’s radiating awesomeness. The characters are few: Mort (the writer); his almost-ex-wife; her boyfriend; Shooter; the sheriff; a private investigator Mort hired; a town citizen called Tom Greenleaf — but they all deliver and more. Since so much focus is on the characters, it helps the film a lot.

secret-window (3)secret-window (2)

Somewhere in the middle of the film2 it struck me that this story would fit into Stephen King’s works gloriously. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Now I looked it up, and yep, apparently I can recognise my favourite author’s3 writing even when it’s in a film. Whether it’s the fact I’ve read so much of his writing or if it was the film, the biggest issue throughout the film is it being predictable – I figured out the twist way too soon into the film, as the hints to the twist are a bit too obvious.

Secret Window isn’t brilliant, I suppose. But it has everything it has to have which makes the film simple in a good way. And it gave me chills4 which is always a good sign. The main attraction is that I loathe commercials but lived through them all even though it was 2 am and I was dead tired – predictability and suspense are both there. And Johnny Depp makes a damn good writer. And it’s the perfect cure for your average writer’s block.

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1 I’ve said his name three times already, so what. You do get why, right?
2 during another commercial break. I realised why I don’t watch cable about eight times watching the film.
3 one of them – I couldn’t choose between Vonnegut and King.
4 I am extremely easily scared so that’s not exactly hard to do but still – it has that thrill you need to have in a psychological thriller.

5 responses to “FAW: Secret Window (2004)

  1. I like films about writers and Depp looks so cool in this, I should give this one a shot. Great review Elena!

  2. I really like this one (or at least I used to, like five years ago). The lazy-writer look certainly suits Depp… maybe that’s why I liked it so much.

  3. I saw this when I was much younger so I didn’t figure it out so that worked really well for it. I rewatched it just recently for the first time and I still enjoyed it so I supposed you don’t need to be in the dark to like it.

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