Roshan Chandy reflects on the career of one of the most complex, eccentric and challenging men ever to grace the silver screen.
Johnny Depp’s new film ‘Minamata’ is currently in cinemas. It’s an excellent film that shines light on a legal government scandal and features Johnny Depp’s best performance in years - possibly the best of his career. Playing famed photographer and activist Eugene W. Smith, this complex, formidable and elusive star deserves to win his long overdue Oscar. Unfortunately that looks unlikely not only because MGM won’t release the film in the States, but because last year’s libel case against The Sun concluded that he was indeed a “wife-beater” to ex-wife Amber Heard.
I’ve often talked about separating art from the person and this is very much the case in the cases of Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. - two of the finest actors working today banked by controversy. In the case of Depp, there’s no physical proof that he was in fact a wife-beater which is why it is my opinion that we should put allegations aside and award him an Oscar for his extraordinary performance in one of the best films of the year.
Depp has been long overdue an Oscar. He’s had one of the most interesting and unique careers of any of Hollywood’s leading men largely because he doesn’t act like a leading man. He is a chameleon, a shape-shifter, a man who seems intent on hiding his matinee idol looks behind Guy Fawkes facial hair and bad boy monster make-up.
That brings me to my titular question. Who is Johnny Depp? Is he indeed a wife beater and a perpetrator of domestic violence? Or is he, in fact, the most complex, eccentric and challenging man ever to grace the silver screen? Only time will tell...
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
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