Saturday, 25 July 2015

Mortdecai

I don’t like Johnny Depp. I know, it’s still a rather controversial thing to say, but I stand by it. He’s impressed me in the past, I’ll admit – I enjoy his earlier films like Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco and to a certain extent Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. But in recent years, he’s just become the go-to guy for slightly unusual and quirky characters in slightly unusual and quirky films. Although this is where he’s most successful and disappointingly this is what people want, for me this is where Depp is his most frustrating. His insistence on playing these bonkers characters so frequently has almost made him a parody of himself. So, with his latest effort Mortdecai out now on DVD & Blu-ray, is he continuing this trend? 


Yes. Yes he bloody is. David Koepp, the once great man who wrote the screenplay for Jurassic Park before throwing away any artistic integrity for a few bucks writing films like the fourth Indiana Jones and Ricky Gervais vehicle Ghost Town, directs Mortdecai. Give it up Koepp. Hollywood isn’t for you, buddy. Mortdecai, based on the books by Kyril Bonfiglioli, tells the story of upper class twit Charlie Mortdecai (Depp), art dealer and rogue. I don’t even want to talk about the plot because there’s raging to be had about the production, but in a nutshell, Charlie goes on an adventure to recover a stolen painting rumoured to be the key to finding a load of Nazi gold. Marketed (ridiculously) and delivered as a comedy, Mortdecai is anything but. It’s more of a horror, because it truly frightens me how bad this film is. Alongside Depp in the cast most notably are Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany and Jeff Goldblum. Shame on you all for being involved. Especially you, Goldblum. A slap on the wrist for you.


Mortdecai thinks it’s a film of immense style. It’s not. In fact, it is painfully unstylish and cringe worthy in its delivery. Trying to stand out with its own style identity like Sin City or Watchmen, it is difficult to watch without asking “are you serious?”. The film is trying to have a somewhat 60s caper feel, but with every attempt at this style, you’ll find yourself putting you head in your hands. Or, to use the parlance of our times, facepalming. The film feels completely amateur in its production and cheaply made, despite a reported budget of $60 million. I imagine $59 million of that went on paying Depp.

Furthermore, the attempts at humour are completely misguided, with every single joke falling completely flat with a thud. The main issue behind that is Depp’s performance. He is abysmal as the eponymous twat Charlie Mortdecai, delivering the most embarrassingly poor performance of his career to date. His character is one of the most unlikeable protagonists I think I’ve ever seen on screen. Like I said, I’ve never been a fan of Depp. But I get that a lot of people like his quirkiness, and for some roles it really works. Not here. It doesn’t seem as though his heart is in it, as it was in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.


Quite frankly, Mortdecai is an offensively bad effort from all involved and an insult to cinema. I wasted 90 minutes of my life on this utter tripe so you don’t have to. That’s my job. Whatever you do in this life, do not watch Mortdecai. I wouldn’t wish a viewing of this on my worst enemy. Watching Fifty Shades of Grey again sounds like heaven in comparison to this shit.

Mortdecai is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, and just barely earns 1/5. What can I say, I’m feeling generous.

★☆☆☆☆

Sam Love


Mortdecai at CeX


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