The real identity of the hero Johnny Depp in the thriller “Secret Window”
Genre: thriller, drama
Year of production: 2004
Directed by: David Koepp
Actors: Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello
Secret Window is based on the novel Secret Window, Secret Garden by Stephen King. This is an inaccurate film adaptation of a complex, almost philosophical book by the “master of horror”.
The meaning of the film “Secret Window” is that if you keep silent, ignore your internal psychological problems and conflicts, they will still manifest themselves. For example, the way it happened with Mort Rainey: his mind split in two, one of his personalities became a brutal killer.
The plot of the movie
A brief description of the plot of the picture. The protagonist of the painting “Secret Window”, the writer Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp), lives in seclusion, in a house on the lake. He mainly entertains himself by signing divorce papers with his wife, sleeping on an old couch and watching TV.
The protagonist is Mort Rainey, a writer played by Johnny Depp. Frame from the film.
The protagonist is in a creative crisis, and lately not a single book has come out of his pen. Suddenly, a Shooter, a man in a black hat, bursts into his life. He accuses Rainey of plagiarizing his own story, which was called The Secret Garden.
Further along the content of the picture, Mort tries to remember what exactly inspired him to write the allegedly plagiarized story. Having studied all the facts and nuances, Mort calculated that his story was published in the magazine two years earlier than Shooter’s. To dot the i’s, Johnny Depp’s hero tried to find all copies of the magazine.
Further, the content of the film becomes somewhat confusing. To find an explanation for further events, you need to take into account several nuances (they are present in the book, but not in the film). Firstly, the name of the stranger in the hat is John, and secondly, in his student years, the hero of Johnny Depp really stole a story from his classmate John and published it under his own name. That is, Mort Rainey is really not very clean at hand.
Meanwhile, the man in the black hat goes into action. He kills the dog Mort, and to complete the picture, he sets fire to the house of the protagonist’s ex-wife, in which she lived with her new lover.
Mort Rainey and John Shooter, the role of the latter was played by John Turturro. Frame from the film.
It was not at all a gesture of male solidarity: this house had once belonged to Mort, and there was still a copy of the magazine with the published story.
Seriously frightened, Rainey hired private detective Ken Karsh. He wanted to find out who the man in the black hat was, hunt him down and punish him.
Karsh takes over the investigation and seems to be getting closer to the solution, but in the end, Shooter cracks down on the detective and continues to pursue his victim, insisting that Mort admit the fact of plagiarism. Moreover, the man in the hat really does not like the end of the work – after all, in the original there is a murder.
By the way, in King’s book, both works have the same ending. It looks like this: the main character kills his wife and “buries” her in her own garden, getting an excellent harvest. Except that Rainey has beans and Shooter has corn.
One day, Mort receives a magazine in the mail with a published story. But here’s the problem – the necessary pages are neatly cut out of the issue. Rainey is surprised: after all, no one has touched the envelope except him …
On the table, he notices Shooter’s black hat and suddenly remembers that once on vacation he bought exactly the same one … Toward the end of the film “Secret Window”, the puzzles in the writer’s head begin to slowly take shape. A few more frightening events take place, after which, putting on a hat, Mort goes to meet his wife and her lover, who brought divorce papers.
The explanation for the ending is this: there is no Shooter, all the crimes were committed by the hero himself. The ex-wife and her new lover become Mort’s latest victims. The story ended the way his alter ego wanted…
Compared to King’s book, the film with Depp loses a lot. There is no hidden meaning in it, the idea seems too “Hollywood”.
In the book, King scrupulously explores the writer’s nature, the writer’s mind, which cannot be shown through cinema.
Amy Rainey, ex-wife of Mort Rainey. Actress Maria Bello. Frame from the film.
By the way, Stephen King wrote the book in a difficult period for himself: he fought fiercely with alcohol addiction. The writer admitted that alcohol helped him in his work: Stephen at that time was releasing four novels a year. However, harmful addiction increasingly made itself felt, clouding consciousness.
King admitted that sometimes he woke up and absolutely did not understand what was happening to him and where he was at all. All this was reflected in the book, and later in the film “Secret Window”.
The interpretation of the ending deduced by King looks like this: the person himself is the face of a frighteningly disastrous evil. This evil manifests itself in him when he gives in to his most terrible desires.
The meaning of the ending of the film “Secret Window” is quite simple: the main character is sick. It would be possible to avoid the terrible if he looked inside himself and reconciled himself with what he saw there …
The meaning of the movie “Secret Window”
Some analyzes and reviews say that the meaning of the film “Secret Window” lies in the tragedy of a man who was betrayed. In particular, the main character was betrayed by his wife, cheating on him.
Being in an anxious depression, he completely plunges into the gloomy world of his own sick consciousness. In the life of Mort (by the way, his name is consonant with the Celtic word “Death”), a terrible trickster appears – a strange man in a hat who attacks him with accusations, and then begins to act.
Against this background, the mind of the writer is always occupied with the betrayal of his wife, which occurred in the recent past. Hints that Rainey and Shooter are the same person are given periodically: the strange maniac in the hat knows too much, and his behavior seems too inhuman.
It is noteworthy that for the first time the viewer sees the main character as if in passing: in this mise-en-scene, a technique is used, which in simple terms is called the camera flying through the window of the house – through the very “secret window” …
Mort lives in an old and gloomy house. The point is that this house is metaphorical and personifies the mind of a sick writer. The shooter is breaking through the door of this house. By the way, this is the only place where they meet Mort – and this symbolizes the beginning of an intrapersonal conflict.
A hint about Rainey’s duality is also the mirror into which he looks in one of the mise-en-scenes, and which in a peculiar way loops this story. At the end of the film, the walls of the old house are cracking, which indicates that the hero is on the verge of losing his mind…
Frame from the film.
The point of the film “Secret Window” is that you should not be afraid to look deep into yourself. If this is not done, a deep intrapersonal conflict develops, which can lead to drama, if not tragedy.
In the picture there is a conflict of two personalities of one person. The first personality was Mort Rainey, timid, vulnerable and driven. The secondary personality was Shooter – persistent and dangerous.
Rainey could not accept the existence of Shooter and avoided him in every possible way. The implication that Rainey by hook or by crook rejected text thefts is that he was trying to suppress his alter ego. The shooter, on the other hand, fiercely and assertively constantly reminded of his existence – he reminded Rainey of his softness and ridiculed his hypocrisy.
The director of the picture presents schizophrenia in a very interesting way: both personalities collide at once, at the very beginning of the film. One of these personalities feeds on the fears of the other, and eventually pushes her to commit one crime after another. By the way, the surname of the “man in the hat” speaks: in English, “shooter” means “shooter”. At the same time, the hero of John Turturro personifies the guilt and shame of the hero …
And the “Hollywood” finale of the film differs from the philosophical book one: a crime and exposure take place in it, and the criminal, who is also a victim, exposes himself in a peculiar way.