Johnny Depp aims for an artistic comeback with "City of Lies"



During the '90s Johnny Depp was artistically untouchable. The number of great performances he gave us was astounding ("Edward Scissorhands," "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," "Ed Wood," "Dead Man," "Donnie Brasco" "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.") The 2000s weren't that bad either for him ("Blow," "The Curse of the Black Pearl," "Sweeney Todd," "Public Enemies.") But something happened in the latter decade that really killed his mojo. He started to embark in mediocre blockbusters, including four unnecessary 'Pirates of the Carribean" sequels. an assortment of duds ("Mortdecai," "The Lone Ranger," "The Tourist,") and a bunch of Disney-produced fluff ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Alice in Wonderland," "Alice Through the Looking Glass"). Yikes. What happened? He walked that fine line between artistic and commercial success in his better years and just couldn't keep up once Hollywood went blockbuster and franchise crazy. He basically sold out. 

Also, Sometime around his appearance in "The Rum Diaries," his behavior changed. He left his partner of 14 years, Vanessa Paradis, and married an opportunistic young actress, Amber Heard, too quickly might I add. Oh, and the really bad financial decisions didn't help either. This all lead to alcoholism. Depp notoriously struggled with drugs and alcohol in the late 1980′s but cleaned up. It seems to be back.

I do feel for the guy. It's not easy reaching the heights of superstardom he did and maintaining some kind of artistic credibility, but that is all gone now. A comeback is surely in the works, I hope, and I do hear he is sobering up, finally.  Who knows what's in store for the 54-year-old actor, but I presume a talent such as his doesn't diminish overnight without delivering a few more great performances. Alas, his last memorable acting? Probably 2007's "Sweeney Todd"? or even 2009's "Public Enemies"? If you want to be very generous you will note his acting as Whitey Bulger in 2015's "Public Enemies," but who are we kidding here?

This latest endeavor "City of Lights" does give me hope. After all, it's Depp in a serious drama with Forest Whitaker and the story is rather interesting: the unsolved murder of Biggie Smalls in Los Angeles. This is also a far improvement from the Mordecai stache. Gives me hope. 

"City of Lies" is due for release on September 7th.