Quick Hit: Johnny Depp gives an amazing turn as a writer who may or may not be mad.
Hello everyone and welcome to our celebration of Stephen King movies here at DoubleFeaturePreachers.com. The celebrated author is by far my favorite, and his magnum opus The Dark Tower is being adapted (finally, after so many false starts) and will be released on Friday August 4th. I will warn you in advance, despite the fact that the run time for that movie is 95 minutes or so, my post on it will probably take 95 minutes to read. It’s my favorite book series, by my favorite author, so what could you reasonably expect? I'll say this first in regards to all the movies - Go enjoy the book first prior to watching the film.
However, prior to our post on The Dark Tower, we’re going to feature some of King’s other movie adaptations. We’re going to start today with Secret Window, which was adapted from King’s story “Secret Window, Secret Garden” from his Four Past Midnight short story collection. It stars Johnny Depp as writer Mort Rainey, and John Turturro as John Shooter. Essentially the story boils down to this: John Shooter claims that he wrote one of Rainey’s stories, and wants his due. Rainey claims he did not plagiarize.
While that main sound boring, there is a lot going for this movie. First, as alluded to, Depp gives a typically amazing performance. Not hidden under makeup this time, he frequently presents the image of a man who is used to being alone, and is a bit unstable. He talks to himself, eats only potato chips and Mountain Dew, and can’t seem to get a story written. There are lots of references to some past problems that he has had, but no clear answers. Depp sells the role instantly, with a dripping sarcasm to his lines that singes upon impact, and delights the ears as well.
Turturro, for his part, does a good job at portraying a stalker that can’t be shaken. It’s a testament to his acting that a character whose only real development is to be murderous, creepy, and southern can actually feel real. The first hour of the film is incredibly tense, because you never quite know when something is going to pop up, or when Shooter will appear once more. It’s almost similar to Fatal Attraction in that vein.
However, I will say this – having read the story, I think King’s ending is much better. However, because movies sometimes stray away from the supernatural, we are left with an ending that is only slightly serviceable. The eventual violence that has been building does not serve as an outlet, but instead as a conclusion that was foregone long before it. It wastes a lot of the good will that has been built up throughout the film.
If you want a tense film with a short run time, you could do worse than Secret Window. It gets a “B” from me.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"