Secret Window (2004/Blu-ray)
Picture: B+ Sound: B Extras: C- Film: D
inauspicious start in the business, Johnny Depp was taking more than a few
risks in his career for a long time.
Though Edward Scissorhands
turned him into a movie star, it was not a typical star role and besides his
further work with Tim Burton, he kept trying to do the interesting and
different. At worse, you had Roman
Polanski’s misguided The Ninth Gate
(1999) where his Dean Corso character dealt with books and then mortality,
while The Hughes Brothers’ grossly underrated From Hell (2001) offered him his best role and performance to
date. I had hoped writer/director David
Koepp would offer more of the same with Secret
the 2004 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel was nothing more than a set of red
herrings sloppily set up and badly executed.
Too bad, because this could have gone into new directions instead of
repeating a bunch of old and tired ones if Koepp and the producers had just
tried to do something different. Depp is
a famous writer who just got divorced (from Maria Bello, enough to ruin
anyone’s life) and when he gets some solitude in lake house, starts to get
harassed by a neighbor (John Turturro) determined to make his life miserable
because he says Depp’s Mort Rainey has stolen his work.
intends to prove it if they do not kill each other first. However, the film and story have another
agenda and the 96 minutes turn into a massive letdown. Too bad, because the talent is here and with
supporting performances by Timothy Hutton and Charles S. Dutton, it all quickly
becomes a waste of celluloid. It is also
King repeating himself, but it also ended any hopes (pre-Pirates) that Depp was entering the most mature and bold acting
phase of his career. For diehard fans
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is mixed and Fred Murphy, A.S.C., did do
a decent if unmemorable shooting job here.
Part of the problem is the editing and other the failures of the script. The film wants to edit along the lines of a
Horror film, but gets in trouble in the process. Did anyone watch Kubrick’s The Shining before this? The PCM 16/48 5.1 mix is better than any of
the Dolby options in English or even German dub PCM, but Philip Glass’ score is
weak (though not always weakly presented) and this is more dialogue-based than
you might expect. Extras include
animated storyboards, previews for other releases, Koepp audio commentary
track, four deleted scenes with more optional Koepp commentary and three behind
the scenes featurettes. None show why
this went wrong.
- Nicholas Sheffo