Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 2004. Grand Slam Productions, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Mel’s Cite du Cinema, Pariah Entertainment Group. Screenplay by David Koepp, based on the novel by Stephen King. Cinematography by Fred Murphy. Produced by Gavin Polone. Music by Philip Glass, Geoff Zanelli. Production Design by Howard Cummings. Costume Design by Odette Gadoury. Film Editing by Jill Savitt.
Johnny Depp plays a blocked writer who is living in a cabin in the woods six months after he found his wife (Maria Bello) in bed with another man (Timothy Hutton). As if relationship problems and the inability to create aren’t bad enough, he wakes up one afternoon to find a creepy man in a tall hat (John Turturro) standing on his porch and claiming that he is the original author of one of Depp’s stories. The man insists on being given proof that Depp really did write the story first, and until he gets it he goes out of his way to make life as miserable for our hero as is possible. As we get into the situation, however, we start to get the idea that not everything is quite as we originally thought. The last third of the film is creative and a nice fun twist to the repetitious genre material, but the only pulse of energy this thing has going for it is in the performances. Depp is charismatic enough for two, even making the painful lack of character development less obvious, and Bello adds just the right touch to all of her scenes. It’s absolutely nothing noteworthy, but it is a pleasant distraction that while not satisfying is at least pleasantly diverting.