Finally, the Depp v Heard trial movie that no one wanted is here

A cheaply made and poorly acted new dramatisation of the two stars on the stand has been rushed out but for whom exactly?

Published: 10:17 AM, 1 Oct, 2022
Depp v Heard
Caption: Depp v Heard
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Never has a made for television movie had a title quite as apt as Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial. The film is a dramatisation of the defamation trial that Johnny Depp brought against Amber Heard, regarding the collapse of their marriage, and subsequent collapse of their reputations as even vaguely employable actors.

The trial, you will remember, ended in June. The movie is out today, in September. That is a very hot take. Scaldingly hot. It’s arguably too hot. The whole thing has been written, cast, shot and edited in a matter of weeks. And this means that it probably isn’t something that you’ll want to watch if you consider yourself a fan of nuance or consideration or any amount of perspective whatsoever.

Interestingly, the film also appears to hate most of its own audience. Since the trial played out across social media, we are also treated to weird little Truman Show-esque interludes where a number of fake TikTokers lend a running commentary on the trial. One of them hates Amber Heard, one offers a more serious analytical approach to the events, and one is a comedian who re-enacts scenes from the trial in a succession of bad wigs. First, this last one is legitimately berserk, because it means that – during a badly acted reconstruction of real life events – we are treated to an even more badly acted reconstruction of the badly acted reconstruction we just watched. It’s like sitting through a version of Inception that has been willed into existence by someone determined to destroy your will to live.

But also, realistically, who is actually going to watch this tripe, aside from the exact people who broadcast their own running commentary during the trial? Mocking them as aggressively as this seems extremely counterintuitive at best.

Which isn’t to say that this film is completely without merit. If you want to see the Hollywood lifestyle reproduced on a shoestring – like the scene where Depp’s post-trial concert at the Royal Albert Hall is staged in a way that makes it look as if he was actually playing at the world’s most sparsely attended working man’s club – this is basically your Christmas. But, honestly, that’s about it.

Perhaps the moral of Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial is that quicker doesn’t always mean better. There is absolutely no insight about anything here. Realistically, it might have been better to wait a year or two, letting the fallout from the trial settle properly, before attempting something like this. Not least because, now that their careers are in the toilet, there’s a good chance that Depp and Heard would be up for playing themselves.