Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 12th, 2004
Six months after the collapse of his marriage, writer Johnny Depp is secluded in his lakecottage, completely blocked. Then his life takes a sinister turn when a menacing John Turturroarrives on his doorstep, claiming Depp plagiarised his story. Unsatisfied with Depp’s response,Turturro begins a campaign of terror and escalating violence, perpetually eluding ineffectivepolice and private investigators.
I will not indulge in the spoiler that most plagued most reviews …f this film. Suffice to say,though, that the third act takes us into territory that’s been explored a few too many timesrecently. The result is a ho-hum film. Cinematography, performances, editing and even muchof the dialogue are all very good. The problem is the source material. Stephen King has revisitedthe idea of the tormented writer more times than is really necessary, and the predictability of thefilm leaves one unsatisfied. Not a patch of David Koepp’s Stir of Echoes, but decentlyexecuted.
The 5.1 soundtrack makes its surround presence known from the opening second, as the coldwinds howl during the prologue. Environmental creation is top-notch from that point on, withnary an opportunity missed to let us hear the sound of the forest. A very atmospheric audio track,with a very rich, enveloping recording of Philip Glass’s score.
The picture is excellent as well. The colours are strong, the flesh tones are accurate andstable, the blacks are deep, and there is no grain. Only the tiniest of edge enhancement haloesis visible when Turturro’s black-clad figure is backlit by daylight. The aspect ratio is the full2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. The image is very sharp. All in all, one handsome transfer.
Writer/director David Koepp’s commentary is engaging and delves deeply into the nitty-gritty of the technical aspects of the shoot. Koepp is also present on the optional commentarythat accompanies two of the four deleted scenes. The three featurettes (“From Book toFilm”, “A Look Through It” and “Secrets Revealed”), which have a “Play All” option, add upto just over an hour’s worth of behind-the-scenes info. Less promotional and more informativethan most, these featurettes assume you have seen the film. In particular, do not watch the thirdone if you haven’t screened the movie yet. There are four animatics (computer-animatedprevisualizations of scenes). Finally, plenty of trailers: 9, including the one for SecretWindow. The menu’s main screen, intro and transitions are scored and animated, while thesecond level screens are scored.
A fine DVD, and a movie that gives it the old college try, but is simply a bit too familiar. Atone point Depp says, “The only thing that matters is the ending. It’s the most important part fothe story.” Sadly true, as we see here.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- 3 Featurettes
- Deleted Scenes