Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEAR

Johnny Depp: The pirate of Hollywood



DIRECTOR Gore Verbinski has followed up the surprising box office success of his overrated The Ring with this, one of the summer's highest grossing Hollywood films. This is not to say that The Ring is a terrible film; it's just that its horror relies far too heavily on that time-honoured Hollywood tradition of showing the endangered heroine running and screaming from her attacker.


THE ECCENTRIC hero
Photo: Saturn Entertainment

DIRECTOR Gore Verbinski has followed up the surprising box office success of his overrated The Ring with this, one of the summer's highest grossing Hollywood films. This is not to say that The Ring is a terrible film; it's just that its horror relies far too heavily on that time-honoured Hollywood tradition of showing the endangered heroine running and screaming from her attacker. Pirates of the Caribbean also has its scenes of the frightened, screaming heroine; fortunately, the film ultimately relies on something far more dynamic: Johnny Depp.

As the notorious pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp certainly engages in swashbuckling sword fighting and rope swinging, but he does so with a sort of acid-casualty, or (perhaps rum-induced) madness and irreverence most similar to his role as gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. This is not to say the role feels rehashed; rather, it seems to suggest, whether coincidentally or not, that the role was created for Depp.

Having worked in Hollywood for 20 years, Depp has managed to accomplish what eludes most performers: He can draw in mainstream viewers, and simultaneously remain a favourite of independent audiences and filmmakers. Yet, through all this, mainstream films included, he has maintained his offbeat essence. Though not all his films work (see Blow and From Hell), he is always a joy to watch, and has matured into one of the finest, most distinctive actors of his generation. For every slight mainstream misstep, there is an Edward Scissorhands or a What's Eating Gilbert Grape - popular, yet unconventional films that required no artistic compromise on Depp's part.

Despite this, the prospect of Depp starring in an action/comedy produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the man responsible for such recent abominations as Pearl Harbor and Gone in 60 Seconds, was a bit worrisome. It's no secret that Depp is a brilliant comic actor (Tim Burton's Ed Wood is perhaps the best evidence of this), and can be effective as a sort of brooding in-action hero (Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man and Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate). But would a producer as conventional, as capable of the so utterly boring and uninspired as Bruckheimer, force Depp to tone down the idiosyncrasies that make him so wonderful? Fortunately, the answer is no.

Of course, without Depp, the film would crumble. The two parties of the central love story, played by Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom, are pretty and inoffensive, but, particularly in the case of Bloom, rather dull. Fortunately, they don't need to carry the film: Johnny Depp, with a bit of help from Geoffrey Rush, does that beautifully.

Top stories

In praise of concrete

It was once notorious for its drab tower blocks and urban crime, but Petržalka now epitomises modern Slovakia.

Petržalka is the epitome of communist-era architecture.

Slow down, fashion

Most people are unaware that buying too many clothes too harms the environment.

In shallow waters, experts are expendable

Mihál says that it is Sulík, the man whom his political opponents mocked for having a calculator for a brain, who “is pulling the party out of liberal waters and towards somewhere completely different”.

Richard Sulík is a man of slang.

Blog: Exploring 20th century military sites in Bratislava

It seems to be the fate of military sites and objects in Bratislava that none of them were ever used for the purposes they were built for - cavernas from WWI, bunkers from WWII, nuclear shelters or the anti-aircraft…

One nuclear shelter with a capacity for several hundred people now serves as a music club with suitable name Subclub (formerly U-club).