minamata movie review

Parallels are drawn to other industrial and pharmaceutical disasters, including Chernobyl, the Thalidomide tragedy, mercury poisoning in Indonesian mining, and the more recent Fukushima and Brumadinho disasters (in Japan and Brazil, respectively). In addition to some period songs, the score by composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (The Revenant) establishes an authentic atmosphere. On an upper catwalk, the man offers Gene $50,000 to hand over all his negatives and forget the cause, a scene that doesn’t seem especially plausible but effectively dramatizes the leverage Chisso had to cover its tracks. These would be the pictures of the private spaces of the families affected, so no one would turn a blind eye to this atrocity anymore.

Eugene Smith (played by a heavily bearded, grey-haired and hardly recognisable Johnny Depp) is a photographer for the now defunct Life Magazine. Rightly, quite a bit of space is given to the local anti-poisoning committee lead by firebrand Mitsuo Yamazaki (Hiroyuki Sanada) thundering “It’s the last battle for humanity!” in a baritone. Gene pitches the assignment to Life editor Robert Hayes (Bill Nighy, suitably self-righteous) and receives permission to fly to Japan and explore the situation. Over its closing credits Minamata concludes with a list of grotesque and often unpunished “spills” including Bhopal, Deepwater Horizon and more. As Gene and Aileen reach the idyllic Japanese village on the sea, the brusque, me-first American appears an awkward outsider around his hyper-polite hosts, the Matsumuras. Minamata is a forthright, heartfelt movie, an old-fashioned “issue picture” with a worthwhile story to tell about how communities can stand up to overweening corporations and how journalists dedicated to truthful news can help them. Levitas is an unusual artist, who rose up through painting and metalwork, paid his dues as an actor, and now finds himself branching out into filmmaking. All rights reserved.

115 minutes. For now, she’s hoping that this famous photographer might be able to help her raise awareness about mercury poisoning in the small town of Minamata, and she catches him at the right time. Gene’s in bad shape when “Minamata” opens: Holed up in his New York apartment, he’s drunk, in debt, estranged from his kids, and obliged to sell his equipment and accept an insincere endorsement deal for Fuji Film, even though he’s never shot a color photo in his life. Deborah Young No one in the village remarks on this arrangement, and somehow it seems to be part of Gene’s habitual escape from responsibility.

He flies to Japan assisted by the interpreter Aileen (French-Japanese actress Minami Hinase), where he engages with the community and witness the horrific Disease firsthand.

Levitas sanitizes the waste water Gene observes, presumably to make the thick sludge he actually documented in 1971 seem more credible. Johnny Depp in the role of acclaimed photojournalist W. Eugene Smith is the most fortunate thing about Minamata, the impassioned account of a real-life environmental tragedy … Every time there’s a difficulty or someone gets hurt, he’s off on a binge, putting his mission aside to keep from feeling any pain. Apparently by chance, he finds himself befriended by Japanese-American Aileen (Minami Hinase) who alerts him to an environmental atrocity in Japan that he could do something about, if he chose to rouse himself from his grumpy self-indulgent ennui. Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. ‘Minamata’: Film Review A nearly unrecognizable Johnny Depp plays Life photographer W. Eugene Smith in this earnest look at his mission to document a … Cast: Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, Hiroyuki SanadaDirector: Andrew Levitas In terms of fact-based stories that depict the residents of a small town being unwittingly poisoned by deadly chemicals that are being dumped into … Review: Minamata Read More » The two characters read as equals here, despite their polar-opposite personalities, and that unusual chemistry fuels the dangerous reporting ahead of them. Industry itself isn’t evil, but the notion that audiences shiver before such a factory today — despite decades of corporate propaganda extolling their virtues — speaks to an enormous change in public sentiment over the past half-century, brought about in part by crusaders like Gene and Aileen Smith.

Read full review Movies. Levitas, who tackled the controversial subject of assisted suicide in his first feature, Lullaby, communicates his outrage at the callousness and self-serving greed of the Chisso factory owners of Minimata, Japan, whose toxic dumping precipitated a neurological disease caused by severe mercury poisoning that killed thousands and destroyed the lives of unborn babies and children. Smith gradually won the affection of the locals, who allowed the unpleasant American photographer to capture their intimacy.

‎Minamata (2020) … A sledgehammer treatment of many of the same issues so elegantly addressed in Todd Haynes’ recent “Dark Waters” (a domestic industrial-negligence saga all but overlooked in theaters last fall), “Minamata” features several jazzed-up white-knuckle sequences in which Gene, Aileen and other activists — including a charismatic organizer played by the great Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada — trespass in hospital wards and research labs where the Chisso Corp. patients are being treated for methylmercury contamination. Levitas sanitizes the waste water Gene observes, presumably to make the thick sludge he actually documented in 1971 seem more credible. M inamata is not a masterpiece and there are one or two cliches here about western saviours and boozy, difficult, passionate journalists who occupy the … There is nothing more to their interactions besides this same old merry-go-round, which is to the film’s detriment. Whether it’s WWE news or something from across the sea, let’s talk shop. Perhaps its use here is a little glib, but the film does at least emphasise a kind of journalism that is at the service of the people that it depicts.

Minamata is an important movie because of the wide-scale atrocity that it documents. Chisso makes for a powerful adversary that has both the police and local goons in its pocket, a massive chemical company that dumps its toxic byproducts directly into the water supply. Minamata was hardly an isolated case, as an end-credits montage reminds. Director: Andrew Levitas The thoughtless Chisso chief cynically attempts to dissuade Smith from carrying out his task by telling him that the chemicals manufactured are utilised in the photographs that he makes, amongst many other uses. A nearly unrecognizable Johnny Depp plays Life photographer W. Eugene Smith in this earnest look at his mission to document a pollution-ravaged Japanese community.

And once again, he has chosen a role in which he wears a hat indoors. Their daughter, Akiko, is a victim of the Minamata disease, and she is completely dependent on her family for survival. ‘Minamata’: Film Review A nearly unrecognizable Johnny Depp plays Life photographer W. Eugene Smith in this earnest look at his mission to document a pollution-ravaged Japanese community.

A nearly unrecognizable Johnny Depp plays Life photographer W. Eugene Smith in this earnest look at his mission to document a pollution-ravaged Japanese community. The office spaces are also darker and more sterile in comparison, reflecting the detachment of the corporation in the face of human tragedy. Variety and the Flying V logos are trademarks of Variety Media, LLC.

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From the indie video game to the dominating AAA that needs a 1000Gb day one update, we’ve got you covered. Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. She believes that stories are the essence of being human, and loves sharing this world with her students.

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