The first ten minutes of "Secret Window" throw the audience into a psychological thriller that gains momentum until its shocking ending. This is the most recent movie based on a Stephen King short story ("Secret Window, Secret Garden"). "Window" is written and directed by David Koepp (responsible for the thriller "Panic Room"), who does an excellent job keeping the audience captivated.
The story revolves around writer Mort Rainey, played brilliantly by Johnny Depp. Depp, just coming off an Oscar nomination, gives another eccentric performance, his hallmark. Going through a divorce (his wife is played by Maria Bello), he has holed up in a cabin to write his newest work. Rainey has many qualities of a man going through a divorce: a natty bath-robe he wears all the time, mussed up hair, and the habit of talking to his dog.
One day, a man knocks on Rainey's door. Wearing a black hat, smoking Pall Mall cigarettes, and speaking with a heavy Southern accent, John Shooter (John Turturro) accuses Rainey of plagiarizing his story. Rainey reads it, and realizes that it is nearly identical to his "Secret Window," which depicts a man who murders his wife and buries her in her beloved garden.
The rest of the movie focuses on Rainey trying to prove that his work is original, and Shooter stalking him. This leads Rainey through murder, arson and animal abuse. The movie's ending is one that will be remembered for years and shows the audience that nothing is what it seems - no one will ever look at corn on the cob the same again.
Turturro gives an excellent performance as Shooter, overcoming a goofy accent, and giving us one of the creepiest characters recently seen.
This movie, despite its thriller classification, is full of humor. Rainey hires a bodyguard to protect him, and the two use a chess clock when they have conversations. The scenes between Rainey, his estranged wife and her new lover show us that Depp has a natural talent for comedy.
Overall, "Secret Window" is one of the best of its genre in a long time and is one of the best movies of the year. It can be held in the same high regard as the King-inspired "The Green Mile" and "Misery."
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.