Thu. Apr 9th, 2020

Johnny Depp, the fall of a god

The actor presented at the Berlin Festival the flat «Minimata», which gives life to the photographer W. Eugene Smith.

It could be said that the years do not pass for him, but we would lie like Bellacos. Johnny Depp, the one who was a fetish actor of eccentric filmmakers, the man with a thousand faces, Captain Jack Sparrow, has not been able to resist the weight of fame. It’s been a long time since your skin has a waxed glow, like a shiny parquet floor, and your cache is down. The presence of «Minamata» in the Berlinale Special section is due to the fact that, at least at the weekend, the festival has to take a star to the red carpet, even if it is in decline. In the Andrew Levitas movie Depp embodies the photographer W. Eugene Smith, which, between whiskey whiskers and generous doses of amphetamines, tries to carry out a final assignment for the magazine «Life»: document the slow death of a Japanese people, poisoned by mercury released by a large industrial corporation.

A mystic type

Needless to say, Depp became mystical at the press conference. I was clear that, however indirect the questions were, would not respond to anything that had to do with his personal life, his disastrous divorce from Amber Heard, the relationship with his children and his past addictions. But at least one had to position oneself in the face of the world’s problems. And he took out, before saying “ooommmm” with the sunglasses on, the I Ching ahead to remind us that everyone, stars and men and women on foot, can contribute with their grain of sand to heal the wounds of the universe. What we said: he referred to one of the enneagrams of the I Ching that symbolizes “the power of the small”. “When we face monumental problems, it doesn’t matter if they are political, social or environmental,” Depp explained, “the combined efforts of individuals can bring about great changes. There is more to go undermining, little by little, to make the problem dissolve. Although the action takes place in 1971, The film, flatter than an ironing board, cares about the responsibility of large companies in the pollution of our environment, which, in Depp’s eyes, makes it fully current.

Depp, who failed to pronounce the famous “Be Water” to levitate for a while, embodies Smith attacked by the syndrome of mimesis. He has the misfortune that Smith is neither Ed Wood nor Eduardo Manostijeras, which jeopardizes his Mannerist tendencies: what is left bare is the saddest, muted overacting. With a wavy and badly trimmed beard and gray hair and greasy hair, he has enough to swing on one of those “bigger than life” characters that are cultured pearls for method actors. «My way of seeing Smith is that his head supports a very high noise level», he told the press. «When you have that background noise, that static electricity, that cacophony of boiling voices inside you, it is very easy for you to end up isolating yourself. I felt that I was locked in a very particular way of understanding his destiny. Impossible to get what Depp has in common with this tormented soul. Impossible to understand why he interprets it with a conviction so soft, so refreshed of clichés.


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