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Secret Window

Mystery . Thriller

Mort Rainey, a writer just emerging from a painful divorce with his ex-wife, is stalked at his remote lake house by a psychotic stranger and would-be scribe who claims Rainey swiped his best story idea. But as Rainey endeavors to prove his innocence, he begins to question his own sanity.

Actors: Len Cariou , Charles S. Dutton , Timothy Hutton , John Turturro , Johnny Depp , Gillian Ferrabee , Matt Holland , Vlasta Vrána , John Dunn-Hill , Joan Heney , Maria Bello
Directors: David Koepp
Country: USA
Release: 2004-03-12
More Info:
  • Roger Ebert

    The story is more entertaining as it rolls along than it is when it gets to the finish line. But at least King uses his imagination right up to the end, and spares us the obligatory violent showdown that a lesser storyteller would have settled for.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    Depp gives a smart, subtle performance, and Turturro is terrific as a foe who's both exactly what he seems and exactly the opposite. Koepp's makes his (literally) corny tricks seemfresh and surprising.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Bloody, bone-chilling fun.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Even if a certain glibness in the plotting deflates its impact somewhat at the finish, it remains an eerie, playful thriller and an all-around entertaining time at the movies.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    A potent psychological thriller bolstered by strong performances and an offbeat sense of humor. What renders it an unsettling cut above many thrillers is the casting of Johnny Depp in the lead.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    A jokey, junky potboiler.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    It's a taught, entertaining motion picture that serves its purpose.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • David Rooney

    The resourceful actor (Depp) invigorates Secret Window with a playful personality and wryly humorous aplomb not front-and-center in the script, making the psycho-suspenser more compelling than it might otherwise have been.

    Variety Full Review
  • M. E. Russell

    "The only thing that matters is the ending," says Rainey toward the end of the movie. He's talking about the writers' craft. Koepp, despite the best efforts of his cast, sends this comment soaring into the ether of irony.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Michael Wilmington

    Koepp, an often ingenious writer, should have followed King's example and covered his tracks better. If he had, Secret Window might have been as good as "Stir of Echoes," and not simply a mini "Misery" and a not-quite "Shining."

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Megan Lehmann

    The film is ultimately a one-man show -- and when that man is the singularly crafty Depp, it's hard to look away.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    A poet is not a pirate (except in his dreams), and, minus the gold in his teeth and kohl over his eyes and trinkets in his tresses, Depp is handicapped here -- for all his deft brushwork, he can only do so much with a flat character on a small canvas.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    Secret Window leaves you unsatisfied and frustrated. Depp's performance both makes the film and undercuts it. He's a poet caught in a machine.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    The movie telegraphs its intentions too early and relies too much on a single actor, Johnny Depp, to achieve its emotional force.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Doesn't keep any secrets but an open one: that Johnny Depp is on a roll, and actor's block is definitely not his problem.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Connie Ogle

    In the end Secret Window asks too much, demands allegiance when only incredulity can be mustered.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jami Bernard

    It's a slight story to begin with, and the movie teeters on camp with its jokey filler material -- the typical King stuff including colorful locals, small puns and asides and a faint whiff of the supernatural.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    Secret Window's premise is certainly new, even if King appears to be plagiarizing themes from himself.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    The picture isn't nearly enough on any level: not scary, not suspenseful, not complex, not atmospheric.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Instead of taking us someplace we fear to go, Secret Window leads us to a place we've already been -- we know it so well, we could write the book on it ourselves. Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    Unsteadily pitched between horror and comedy, Secret Window turns out to be neither terribly scary nor especially funny.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    This Window ultimately feels like one most of us have climbed through before.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • William Arnold

    The film never kicks in as a character study or a star vehicle.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    The movie's "shock" payoff still feels like a cheap trick.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    Secret Window is almost worth seeing for his characteristically assured performance alone, but Koepp sabotages Depp and his surroundings with an ending so atrocious, it callously betrays everything that came before it.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Luke Y. Thompson

    This is fun for a while, but the ending is so ridiculous, and obvious, as to sully all the small joys that come before it.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    The film itself is an effective enough metaphor for out-of-control bullshit that frankly, Koepp aside, was part and parcel of King’s novella from page 1.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    The ultimate test of one's tolerance for King's self-aggrandizing postulations about writer's block, obsessive fans and the potentially frightening manifestations of the writer's id...It's just plain lousy.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Dennis Lim

    "The only thing that matters is the ending," Mort declares in the closing seconds, just as the director is serving up a colossal (and literally corny) stinker. But for Depp, it's yet another daunting mission accomplished with wit and ingenuity.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    This movie is a suspense thriller whose only suspense comes from an audience wondering if the picture will hit its promised 97-minute running time.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    You can boost mediocrity a little, but you cannot raise it from the dead.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum

    The tricky plot has an interesting payoff, but it's a slow and bumpy ride getting there, and Koepp fares better with special effects than with generating either suspense or interest in the characters.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Kevin Carr

    The worst sin of omission in Secret Window is the removal of the fact that Rainey had actually plagiarized in the past. In the story, this is critical because it is the source of Rainey’s guilt -– and arguably the reason for his success.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Secret Window has an ending that lets one of our most reliably interesting actors pull out all the stops. But getting there from a good beginning followed by a slow, repetitive middle is a test of resourcefulness for him and a test of patience for us.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
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