Depp and Amber Heard’s quasi-apology for illegally taking their terriers to Australia mocks the authorities, yet falls short of satire and into a kind of weird irony
Legally enforced pseudo-apologies from public figures are common enough: the mock sorrow for “any offence caused”, the breezily worded commitment to “setting the record straight” etc. But Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have gone in for the high-risk strategy of recording an elaborately deadpan spoof apology whose purpose is to satirise the very people they’ve been forced to placate. The result is very bizarre and uncomfortable: Russell Brand brought off this kind of pseudo-apology a bit more successfully when he released a quasi-mea culpa online after the Andrew Sachs affair with a picture of Stalin in the background.
It’s the equivalent of too-cool-for-school Year 12 students sneeringly saying “sorr-eeeeee!” to the headteacher and it says to the viewer: these uptight idiots with their tyrannical laws think they’ve won. They won’t understand they’re being mocked … but our fans will get the joke.
It is a very strange performance from them both, perhaps especially Depp. He has only recently staged a comeback with his performances as Donald Trump and the gangster “Whitey” Bulger. But here the irony has gone awfully wrong.
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