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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Secret Window(2004)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: David Koepp

Starring:
Johnny Depp/Mort
John Turturro/Shooter
Maria Bello/Amy
Timothy Hutton/Ted
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Novelist Mort (Depp) catches his wife (Bello) banging some other dude (Hutton) in a hotel room. Months later, Mort isolates himself in a cabin to mope, avoid his divorce and find his writing muse. But when an enigmatic weirdo named Shooter (Tuturro) shows up at his doorstep claiming he stole one of his stories, conflict arises and Shooter goes “bang bang” in various ways, sending Mort’s life into a downward spiral. As if the guy wasn’t already having a bad fucking month!
THE LOWDOWN
There’s no little secret about "Secret Window" if you’ve read your fair share of Stephen King novels or seen some of his film adaptations. The themes found here definitely rang familiar ("The Dark Half" and "Misery" anyone?) And there’s no big secret about "Secret Window" either, if your movie going heavily leans towards the genre. I knew the tic-tac-toe match this baby was playing 40 minutes in. But what this window does have is a view, and that view is the man, the man and the man...yes, I mean Johnny Depp.

Give Depp a script that has the word “bah” written endlessly over 90 pages and he’ll manage to make it incredibly captivating onscreen. He’s just that kind of actor and this flick truly benefited from his magnetic presence. Depp was at his “one man show” naturalistic best here, charming the shit out of me and never failing to bring some “bang-on” circumstantial humor to what was a mucho severe situation. I surprisingly laughed my duck tail off during this movie and that’s all due to Depp’s amazing performance and the off-beat manner in which his character dealt with the dire curve balls tossed his way. It should also be said that any opus that has Depp sporting a tuque, is already three steps ahead of the Pony Show, the man just looks SO FREAKING KOOL when taking the tuque highway!

On a non-tuque related note, the flick also scored some points by keeping me in my seat via its gripping “cat and mouse” games, clever psychological undercurrents and harsh turn of events that were yes, somewhat predictable, but that still managed to open up a can of whoopass on me. Then there was the slick look of the picture that surely helped when it came to tangling me tighter within its web. I was totally wooed by the film's striking polished visuals and that made the proceedings go down smoother than a 1989 Playboy Playmate's “Oil of Olay” butt cheeks. If it wasn’t Koepp’s sly way of injecting symbolism that imminently fit within the big picture impressing the slippers out of me, it was the many swooping camera shots through mirror or windows or the gnarly use of flashbacks, peeling my banana the right way. Lastly, I must “high-five” this bitter pill for going against the mainstream grain in delivering quite the bleak, yet humorous, last frame. That ending rocked the sushi bar and left me with a big ass smile carved on my face!

Alas, this "Secret Window" did sport its dirty spots. First off, there just wasn’t enough substance here to fully gap a buck and half of clock time. That resulted in the tale threading the same ground more than once (we get it, he stole your story). The words “get on with it already” came to mind once or twice and if it wasn’t for Depp owning every frame, I might have gotten bored in places. Then there was the chain of events which were granted, involving to various degrees, but at the same time, fairly transparent if you passed your "Thriller 101" class with flying colors. I pinpointed who would live and who would die effortlessly, easily picked up on the red herrings tossed my way and saw the last block coming continents away. In consequence, I often found myself waiting for the flick to catch up with me. I hate waiting…

Overall, I had a decent time during my sit-down with "Secret Window", but hoped it had been more original and less predictable. Thank Zeus for Depp! Now are you going to jump through this window or take the stairs? Your call, champs!
GORE
We get after-the-fact mangled bodies, a screwdriver in a pooch, a screwdriver in the head and a screwdriver in the leg. Yup, lots of screwing here.
ACTING
Johnny Depp (Mort) was the show and without him, this flick would’ve lost mucho points. The man was so natural, humor just flowed out of him effortlessly, you love him, you want to be him and even when his character does wrong...you root for him. AWESOME! John Turturro (Shooter) did what he had to do: look creepy and talk with a thicker than my shaft Mississippi accent. He worked. Maria Bello (Amy) gave an admirable performance, displaying layers in her character and ample believability. Charles Dutton (Ken) rocked in his small role as per usual. The man has such a strong presence! Timothy Hutton (Ted) did fine as the new boyfriend. It was nice to see the lad again. Was his appearance a nod to the "The Dark Half" (which was reminiscent of this film and in which he starred)?
T & A
Timothy Hutton show his chest “shag” early on and us dudes get Johnny Depp having us wish we were at least half as kool and good looking as he is.
DIRECTING
Koepp went "all out" and came out a winner delivering awesome shots into mirrors/windows, all kinds of overhead angles while putting out, a kool way of handling his symbolism, his flashbacks and his scene transitions. I dug it the most!
SOUNDTRACK
The score by maestro extraordinaire Phillip Glass tapped into the darkness of the tale at hand like a Mack Truck tapping into road kill. Perfect fit!
BOTTOM LINE
The master thespian and king of tuques known as Johnny Depp elevated "Secret Window" to a higher plane due to his beyond-engaging performance alone. The flick itself could’ve been a harder hitter if it didn’t feel so damn familiar or obvious in its sneaky intentions, but on the whole, "Secret Window" was still a well directed, funny and dark time at the movies. You can’t take that away from it. I could see it being more suitable for a DVD rental night when your couch and your 6-pack (I mean beers) needs your company as opposed to a big screen foray, but mark my self-inflicted wrist gashes, it’s definitely worth at least one look! NOTE TO SELF: Buy more tuques.
BULL'S EYE
This movie is based on the novella 'Secret Window, Secret Garden' by Stephen King, which appeared in his anthology 'Four Past Midnight.'

The film was shot in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and New York and had a budget of $40 million dollars.

566 tuques were used during the shoot of "Secret Window", with 65 of those being professionally tested and trained “stunt tuques” approved by Mr. Depp himself (that’s a joke…a bad one, but go with it…it's all I got)
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