This was one movie that that has been giving me the look from the DVD shelf, for sometime now. An innocent and honest comment about Johnny Depp on a post unrelated to his movie, earned me respectable flak. I was even afraid of losing some blog-love from a suph. Most people were surprised that I didn’t quite like his performances.
There is obviously a huge amount of hype that surrounds Mr. Depp, more-so because of the women (in our life — after a while you tire of it all and turn a Depp ear to all the praise).
But Finding Neverland was a good film. And no, I did not say Johnny Depp was excellent in it. The movie was wonderful, as a story, and in its presentation. For those of us who have lost our limitless imagination to the daily drudgery of reason and reality, this was a refreshing take on being innocent.
Coming back to Johnny Depp, I believe he was doing a Robin Williams role. Given the rest of the cast, (and don’t ask me why), Robin would have been miscast in this film. Yet, this was a role written for him and roles written for Robin Williams need a casting strategy around Robin Williams. The effort, is always visible when Depp performs, you can sense it. Depp seems to try so hard to get into the character yet cannot seem to shed the very act of transitioning into the character. Just as an example (no comparison), think of the “getting-into-the-character-act” of Cuba Gooding Jr., for that matter. Finding Neverland, was supposed to be my eye-opener to Depp’s superior performance, however, it has only reinforced that there is more hype than substance in his work. I concur with my friend that he chooses interesting roles, but that doesn’t make him a great actor.
Kate Winslet was as tolerable as ever. Dustin Hoffman, even in his small role is impressive. Give the man a few words, and he can do magic. Even if he mumbles all through the movie. Kelly MacDonald had too small a role to demonstrate any of her acting skills, her performance in The Girl in the Café (2005), remains a benchmark of what she is capable of.
Yet, the film itself was very well done, especially the presentation — I loved the lighting and the play of light all through the movie. Ask someone else, and they might probably tell you that you had a hint of a smile all throughout the movie.