Archives for posts with tag: Johnny Depp

You know all those movies where the bad guy looks at the good guy and says, “we’re not so different, you and I?” That concept is the poignant, underlying theme of “Donnie Brasco” (1997). Johnny Depp is the young, family man, undercover FBI agent and Al Pacino is the world-weary mob wiseguy, but they’re not so different. They’re both mid-level grinders, bound together, trying to do their best while their bosses take advantage of them. The allure of being someone he’s not has Depp turning away from his own life of quiet desperation, but is the alternative that different? Fuggedaboutit.

The “based on a true story” film genre is often a worst-of-both-worlds purgatory that mixes fact and drama to the point that both are weakened. “City of Lies” (2021), a dormant film about the even-more-dormant murders of rap icons Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, would have been better either as a documentary or as a completely fictionalized police procedural with “names changed to protect the innocent,” as they used to say on the old LAPD television shows. Conspiracy theories surrounding the unsolved murders have reduced Biggie and Tupac to abstracts, like Amelia Earhart. This film clouds the narrative even further.

On Halloween, I watched the creepy (not scary, creepy, and by creepy I mean ubercreepy) “Transcendence” (2014), a cinematic treatise on the moral struggle behind man’s quest to create artificial intelligence, starring Johnny Depp. (Side note: You know how pissed you get when tech support asks you if you’ve turned the machine off and turned it back on? OK, well, if your balky machine is designed to create an AI program capable of self-awareness and emotion while also scarily regenerating tissue, reanimating the dead and taking over the voices of others, that on/off thing actually works.) Like I said, ubercreepy.