Berlinale Exclusive Review: Minamata

Some shocking visuals and a few knuckle-biting moments bring this true story of the Minamata poisoning exposé to life. But despite best efforts the white saviour positioning undermines the power of the film.

It’s 1971 and once well-regarded photographer W. Eugene “Gene” Smith (Johnny Depp) is at the end of his useful career and drinking too much. Haunted from photographing the horrors of WWII, he has annoyed his publishers too many times to get consistent work and is reduced to endorsing products he doesn’t use for money.

Late one night Aileen Mioko (Minami in her first English Language film) visits to beg him to come to Japan and cover the Minamata poisoning. A whole region is suffering from sickness and birth defects from the Chisso Corporation chemical factory pumping mercury into the water. Continue reading Berlinale Exclusive Review: Minamata