Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial (2022)
Less than four months after the trial ended, this biopic of the defamation case bought by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard was released on Tubi. Despite the quick turnaround and low budget, Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial does have a few things going for it. The leads are engaging and contrivances, such as breaking the fourth wall and including influencers to provide real-time commentary, at least attempt to enliven proceedings. Nevertheless, the film remains a dry retelling of the story that, like the actual case, leaves few of those involved untarnished.
As the protagonists arrive at court, a television reporter augmented by an array of headlines outlines the events that led them here. Cue the social network of Instagrammers and TikTokers to pass judgment and fact check Amber Heard’s every nuance. Inside the courtroom, Depp and Heard each give their version of events from the witness stand, helped and hindered by so-called experts. Employing the Rashomon effect, the transcripts of these differing testimonies are dramatised with the witness occasionally addressing the audience while taking part in the events playing out.
Regrettably, the filmmakers lack the wherewithal to differentiate themselves from the influencers peppered throughout, reducing Heard to little more than a screaming harridan. Depp fares slightly better, with Mark Hapka giving an acceptable impersonation of Johnny Depp (as well as an impersonation of Johnny Depp impersonating Marlon Brando). Yet unsurprisingly in a court room drama such as this, it is the lawyers who come off best, with Melissa Marty registering well as Camille Vasquez.
Though the Depp v Heard trial captivated, somewhat perversely, the public’s attention for more than seven weeks, this biopic barley maintains enough interest to justify its short running time.
as Johnny Depp
as Amber Heard
Both Depp and Heard’s legal teams were larger in number than those depicted here.