Stars: *** 1/2
Rating: PG-13 for language, violence and intensity
Run Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Riding high on the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp segues into this Stephen King-based thriller with killer aplomb.
Morton Rainey, a quasi-successful novelist who’s agonizing over a painful
divorce and licking his wounds at his rustic upstate
Until a dark and mysterious stranger appears at his door, insisting that Rainey stole his story. John Shooter (John Turturro) claims to have written the short story “Secret Window” in 1997; identical to a story Rainey published in a mystery magazine several years prior to that.
Prove it, says Shooter; you have three days to produce before I put the screws to you. In the meantime this seemingly psychotic stalker means business, putting a hand tool through Rainey’s poor pooch and wreaking bloody havoc on the periphery of Rainey’s limited existence.
Subtle subplots are the sum of a smarter whole. The local sheriff (Len Cariou) who prefers needlepointing his arthritis away to solving crimes. The semi-sympathetic ex (Maria Bello) who’s sleeping with her home-wrecking beau and is anxious to move on. And the omnipresent fear of the unknown
the Stephen King novella “Secret Window,
David Koepp’s script is taut, as is his canny direction. Supporting performances – particularly Turturro’s menacing turn – are brave and commanding, and Philip Glass’ moody score sharpens every nerve ending. Bravo for the revival of the smart thriller.