Johnny Depp at the opening night of the 76th Cannes Film Festival © Rune Hellestad
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The 76th Cannes Film Festival has opened with out of competition premiere of Jeanne du Barry written, directed and acted by French filmmaker Maïwenn.

The ‘controversy’ of giving Johnny Depp (acquitted of any wrongdoing by jury in the US) a job got left-leaning journalists turning their knickers in a twist. Earlier in the week, Secretary General of Cannes Film Festival charismatic Thierry Fremaux has said she has no interest in the court case or in playing politics. Instead, he cares about Johnny Depp as an actor – as does majority of the world.

Johnny Depp was in good spirits as he stepped out on the red carpet and we sure hope he enjoyed the screening.

Johnny Depp at the opening night of the 76th Cannes Film Festival © Rune Hellestad
Johnny Depp at the opening night of the 76th Cannes Film Festival © Rune Hellestad

We can’t say we did however. There is a reason why some films are screened outside of competition – it’s often not the strongest work by the filmmaker and Jeanne du Barry was a prime example. A poorly written screenplay with flat one-dimensional characters lacking any character arch was a poor show to watch once you look past the extortionately expensive period sets and costumes.

Opening night of The Cannes Film Festival
Uma Thurman at the Opening night of The Cannes Film Festival © Rune Hellestad

The film has every error in the book of a rookie screen writer – lack of a character development means you don’t care about any of the characters. Least of all about the lead played by Maïwenn herself. Unjustified costume design, third-rank supporting characters who pipe up to the front out of convenience for the scene and nothing more, poor attempt to make a feminist stance – coming in a way of one phrase “It’s my body” from out of nowhere and disappearing as fast as it appeared leaving no trace. The film is an overpriced History Channel documentary with too good of a Hollywood star to grace the list of cast.

Same can be said about the Directing. An experienced Director would no doubt iron out some of the inconsistencies of teh script but as Maïwenn has seemingly had a production meetings of one, she has robbed her film of the opportunity to make it a stunning cinematic work.

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Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).