The movie “Minamata” .. Johnny Depp and the expected return


Adam Munir

In the framework of the special offers section of the Berlin International Film Festival in its seventy session, the latest movie star “Johnny Depp” (Minamata), directed by Andrew Levitas, is shown during the role of the late photographer Eugene Smith.

Depp has recently suffered from several personal problems that made him dim in his roles, and participates in movies that are not at the usual level of the star with three Oscar nominations. Was “Minamata” the expected return of Johnny Depp on the path of good roles?

Confused visual identity
The events of the film are based on a true story, as we follow Ejwen, the American photographer who specializes in photographing wars as he goes to Japan in the early seventies of the last century to photograph cases of illness known as “Minamata” (relative to the Japanese village where it was discovered) resulting from pumping contaminated factory water. In wastewater, where Ejwen has a responsibility to shed light on this silent issue.

Initially, the film focuses on the bad situation that Ejwen has reached, as he is heavily indebted and semi-unemployed, but at the same time we do not get well acquainted with his previous history and his works that made his name even in passing, which confuses the viewer a little because he did not realize the secret of choosing This photojournalist specifically highlights the incidents of Minamata poisoning.

Initially, the director tried to create a visual identity for the film, through the use of red, green and blue colors to express each of them a specific condition of the hero, while employing these colors in aesthetically good manner, in addition to being linked to the main character, these colors are used in printing photos, but we quickly What we discover is that Ejwen is portrayed in black and white, and thus we find that colors lose their meaning.

Alongside this discovery, the director and the team quickly forget everything they presented in the beginning, in order to control the film a different visual identity dominated by yellow in the rest of the film, and this small detail that critics consider one of the first signs of immaturity of the film, and the lack of clarity of options for the director.

Suspense at the expense of feelings
As we mentioned, the film is based on real facts, and it is a famous issue whose echoes are still valid until recently, and if we go back to last year we will find one of the most important short series in the year dealing with a famous environmental pollution issue, and perhaps even the most famous, and it is the series “Chernobyl” ( Chernobyl) who covered what happened in the hours and days after the explosion of the nuclear reactor, and the series focused on the human aspect and corruption and how the organs of the Soviet Union dealt with this great event.

On the other hand, the movie “Minamata” dealt with the issue in a police form based on suspense, and the focus on human and human emotions declined, except in a few scenes, mostly at the end of the film, and the film also featured many repeated scenes in the confrontation between corrupt authority and the hero, such as money supply and the threat Physical, and so on.

Even with the option of suspense, the film did not succeed in making a good movie belonging to this type, as we find that solutions always come easily during the events, for example in one of the scenes, the hut where Ejwen acid develops his films, and after several scenes the films return to it without any effort from it, Suddenly, we find that someone stole it and kept it to return it to the photographer at a time when the film deems appropriate, even if this choice is not the best cinematic.

Dib’s capabilities and choices
If we do a quick search for the roles of artist Johnny Depp, we will find that he made a single film in 2019, and it does not seem that there will be other roles that he will perform in 2020, unlike his role in “Minamata”, and it can be said that acting is one of the few distinctive elements in this film, where Deeb is doing A clear effort to embody the character of the desperate photographer of his life, who fights the human side with weakness in front of money, all this while maintaining making the character clearly older, not in shape, but also in the soul, which indicates that the great actor has not yet lost his ability .

Johnny Depp may not have lost his diagnostic ability, but to a large extent he has lost his ability to choose good films, as it seems clear that he is trying to choose difficult works and return with artistic films and away from the usual commercial and mass template from him, but this film did not succeed in satisfying the two parties; the film is not good On a technical level, it is difficult to achieve great success when presenting commercially.

Thus it seems that the American artist will continue to shade for another year, unless he surprised us with a distinguished role during the coming period.


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