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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Secret Window (review)

It’s all about the Depp. And hats. He pulled off the pirate tricorn smashingly, but that’s not as big a challenge as the knit ski cap he dons here, which isn’t the kind of chapeau that flatters anyone. Add nerd glasses, a ratty bathrobe, and a scruffy unshavenness, and Depp is in his glory as depressed writer Mort Rainey, who can’t get going on his new story and certainly does not want to write the one thing his wife (Maria Bello: Duets) really wants from him: his John Hancock on their divorce papers. And then John Shooter (John Turturro: O Brother, Where Art Thou?) shows up on the doorstep of Mort’s lakeside cabin, demanding reparations for Rainey’s supposed plagiarism of Shooter’s own writing, and things get weird from there. If you’re even only half paying attention, you’ll suss the whole shebang out from the opening sweep around Mort’s cabin — writer/director David Koepp (who wrote Panic Room and directed Stir of Echoes) isn’t exactly known for his subtlety. Ironically, though, it’s Koepp’s faithfulness to Stephen King’s original story, at least in attitude and tone, that’s part of the problem: If you know where King tends to go, you’ll be there ahead of the movie itself. It’s delightful to see that Koepp hasn’t Hollywoodized King’s bite, though, and there is a corker of a final joke that’s not foreseeable. And anyway, it’s all about the Depp, who’s thoroughly entertaining just being his own kooky self.


MPAA: rated PG-13 for violence/terror, sexual content and language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

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