‘Minamata’ Trailer: Johnny Depp Photographs Disease in True Story of Japanese Tragedy

Metalworks/Larry Horricks

Take a look at the trailer that’s been released for Minamata, an upcoming true-story drama led by and produced by Johnny Depp.

The film finds Depp playing renowned photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, who, in the early ’70s, documented the horrific and tragic effects of mercury poisoning on the people of Japanese coastal city Minamata. The cause: a Chisso factory polluting the water sources with heavy metals.

Early reviews have been mixed, some critics finding issue with the film’s lack of emotional tact. That being said, it does have an emotional, well-crafted trailer, and it’s nice to see Depp continue to work in smaller drama fare. We’ll see.

This marks the sophomore directorial effort for Andrew Levitas, who previously helmed 2014 drama Lullaby, which wasn’t too well received and got quite a small released considering its cast (Garrett Hedlund, Richard Jenkins, Amy Adams, Terrence Howard, among others).

Minamata, also starring Bill Nighy, Hiroyuki Sanada, Minami Hinase, Jun Kunimura and Tadanobu Asano, will be hitting UK cinemas on February 12, 2021 and other markets expected in 2021 as well. Rialto Distribution has acquired it for Australian release, with no date yet announced.

Official synopsis for Minamata:

New York, 1971. Following his celebrated days as one of the most revered photojournalists of World War II, W. Eugene Smith (Johnny Depp) has become a recluse, disconnected from society and his career. But a secret commission from Life magazine editor Robert Hayes (Bill Nighy) sends him to the Japanese coastal city of Minamata, which has been ravaged by mercury poisoning; the result of decades of gross industrial negligence by the country’s Chisso Corporation.


There, Smith immerses himself in the community, documenting their efforts to live with Minamata Disease and their passionate campaign to achieve recognition from Chisso and the Japanese government. Armed with only his trusted camera, Smith’s images from the toxic village give the disaster a heartbreaking human dimension, and his initial assignment turns into a life-changing experience.



+ posts

Guillermo, Founder and Manager of Screen Realm, lives and breathes all things screen and pop culture. He has over eight years' experience in the media landscape in a career that has encompassed television, radio, and the online space. When he's not working hard on Screen Realm, you can find him at a local Sydney cinema or catching up on his ever-growing list of must-watch TV shows. He's also started a video podcast with his wife, Cassandra. Find the LOUD OBSERVERS right HERE.