Netflix docuseries Depp. v. Heard doesn’t comply with the usual true crime playbook. There aren’t any guarantees of “unique interviews,” or “never-before-seen footage.” There’s no voice-over backstory, no sizzling mic confessions, and no gorgeous revelations. With its bare-bones, found-footage really feel, the collection doesn’t even try to provide us extra perception into Johnny Depp or Amber Heard, the well-known former sweethearts whose public struggles—each throughout their marriage and after it—have been fodder for numerous hours of protection and commentary. As an alternative, the collection makes an attempt a contradictory trick—encouraging us to binge its three episodes concerning the 2022 civil trial between the 2 actors, whereas prodding us to query why we care concerning the trial within the first place.
To try this, it presents footage from the televised and reside streamed trial, interspersed with oft-emotional on-line commentary and reactions from TikTok and YouTube customers in addition to broadcast commentary from specialists. Aside from an occasional black display screen with a line of Legislation and Order–esque expository textual content, the collection makes no assertions of its personal and speaks solely via assembled, second and third-party footage.
It’s an uncommon tactic and one which appeared to depart viewers within the UK, the place Depp v. Heard aired on Channel 4 in Could, scratching their heads. “The place are the specialists? The place is the commentary?” tweeted one. (The collection drops on Netflix within the US on August 16.) However that’s not the type of documentary BAFTA-nominated director Emma Cooper got down to make.
“I used to be attempting very, very arduous to not have folks watching and considering who ought to have received,” Cooper says. “The decision is the decision.” Her aim as an alternative, she says, was to take a look at the discourse across the trial and to check it to the trial footage itself. Heard and Depp’s respective claims aren’t the main target right here; it’s the claims about the claims that Cooper sought to interrogate.
Depp and Heard met in 2009 when she was forged within the Depp automobile The Rum Diary, a movie adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel. By 2014, the pair have been engaged; they married the next yr. Depp was 51, Heard was 28. In Could of 2016, Heard filed for divorce and requested a short lived restraining order towards Depp on account of alleged abuse. She withdrew that request three months later when the previous couple reached a $7 million divorce settlement. (Vainness Honest reached out to representatives for Depp and Heard for touch upon the docuseries.)
“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at instances unstable, however at all times sure by love,” Depp and Heard stated in a joint assertion on the time of the settlement. “Neither celebration has made false accusations for monetary acquire. There was by no means an intent of bodily or emotional hurt. Amber needs the most effective for Johnny sooner or later.” In late 2018, Heard penned an op-ed for The Washington Submit that stated “two years in the past, I grew to become a public determine representing home abuse,” however didn’t point out Depp by identify. Depp sued Heard for $50 million, claiming the opinion piece defamed him, and Heard counter-sued for $100 million, saying Depp and his spokespeople had additionally sought to defame her.
That defamation trial kicked off in April 2022, lower than two years after Depp misplaced a UK libel case towards The Solar newspaper revolving round a narrative during which the publication referred to him as a “wife-beater.” Cooper, who is predicated in London, says she adopted the UK case solely through written accounts within the mainstream media.