Johnny Depp might have been finding himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently as his protracted legal battles with ex-wife Amber Heard continue, but the actor has kept on quietly working in between his frequent appearances in the courtroom. Earlier this year, drama Waiting for the Barbarians was released onto VOD to little fanfare, but his next movie is scheduled for a theatrical debut.
Minamata sees the 57 year-old headline the biopic of war photographer Eugene Smith, who traveled to Japan in the 1970s to investigate and document the disastrous effects that mercury poisoning had caused to many small coastal communities. The Pirates of the Caribbean star is virtually unrecognizable under heavy makeup, and the first trailer paints the picture of an emotional real-life story that looks to be trying to position itself as an awards season contender.
The movie premiered back in February as part of the Berlin International Film Festival, but due to the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, it hasn’t yet scored a theatrical release. Vertigo Entertainment picked up the distribution rights earlier this month, though, and the pic will hit the big screen in the United Kingdom on February 12th.
Reviews have been decidedly mixed so far, with Minamata holding a solid if unspectacular Rotten Tomatoes score of 61%, although the general consensus is that Depp gives one of his best performances in years, with the cast filled out by the likes of Bill Nighy and Japanese stars Hiroyuki Sanada and Tadanobu Asano. The story behind the movie is fascinating, no doubt, but biopics often struggle to do justice to the events, and based on the critical reception so far, it would appear that director Andrew Levitas has fallen into many of the usual traps.