March 14, 2004
Secret Window

I love Johnny Depp. He's usually the best thing in any film he's in. On this basis, I went to see this Stephen King film. I'm not a Stephen King fan. I think he's a hack. I read one of part of one of his books once. I thought it was terrible. I liked Misery, the film. I liked The Shining. I can't think of another Stephen King film I've liked.

I liked this film. It wasn't great, but it was entertaining. It was creepy. Johnny plays a writer who's been separated from his wife for 6 months due to her adultery. He's holed up in their cabin in, I'm assuming, upstate New York. He can't seem to write and spends most of his time napping and talking to his dog, Chico. That is, until a man with the thickest southern drawl you've ever heard (John Turturro who I love and who is great) shows up at his door and tells Johnny that he stole the man's story. Johnny spends the rest of the movie trying to find an old copy of Ellery Queen magazine with the original story published in it. Meanwhile, the southerner keeps popping up to threaten and inflict violence on Johnny's life.

Johnny was fantastic. If any other actor had been in his role, I doubt I would have liked it, not to mention that I probably wouldn't have gone. He's so great, with all the nuances and pieces of the character that he's created. In this film Johnny has constantly mussed hair as if he's just woken up (most of the time he has), he hangs out in a ratty robe, he agonizes over a paragraph that goes nowhere, he sings "Chico and the Man" to his dog, he eats Doritos to such an extent that I've had cravings for days, and constantly says the wrong things to his cheating wife and her lover. I suspect most of these things are Johnny rather than the director or writer. Just like the Hunter S. Thompson on the coffee table. But the story is actually ok, too, for most of the film. It's minimal, taking all its creepiness from the set-up, not a lot of need for anything more than Johnny's own paranoia and the occasional black hat. Believe it or not, I didn't guess the end, which doesn't mean anyone else would miss it, but if you're not a big horror movie person, you've got a chance of being surprised. Good matinee movie.

Posted by Alyssa at March 14, 2004 08:10 PM
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