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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Mystery > Writing > Secret Window (2004/Blu-ray)

Secret Window (2004/Blu-ray)

 

Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: C-     Film: D

 

 

After an 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 Window.

 

Unfortunately, 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.

 

He 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 only.

 

The 1080p 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


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