Pirates of the Caribbean The Curse of the Black Pearl

Film

Period and swashbuckler films

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Time Out says

He first leapt to stardom as teenybopper catnip on the US television series 21 Jump Street, but Johnny Depp has since mapped out one of the most idiosyncratic résumés of moviedom's A-list, channeling his charisma - or bravely burying it altogether - in audaciously stylised performances for Tim Burton, Jim Jarmusch and fellow expat Terry Gilliam. So fans may blanch when Jerry Bruckheimer takes a break from producing ads for the Pentagon to produce one for Disneyland and signs Depp as lead pitchman. And, egad, it's a pirate flick - a genre as doomed as the titular Black Pearl or Gilliam's quest to adapt Don Quixote. Yet our Depp invests this overfed, action-tractioned swashbuckler with a voluptuous wit and spry spontaneity it surely doesn't deserve. Resplendent in beaded dreadlocks and kohl, he plays Captain Jack Sparrow as a purring East End dandy. The plot? Jack forges an uneasy alliance with an earnest blacksmith (Bloom) to thwart a gang of hexed buccaneers headed by nefarious Barbossa (Rush), who've kidnapped a fair maiden (Knightley) in a bid to lift an Aztec curse. The plodding procession of CGI-aided fight sequences leaves less and less room for Depp to wriggle, but when the actor's on screen he singlehandedly makes the film not only bearable but - dare we say it? - recommendable. JWin.
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Release details

UK release:

2003

Duration:

143 mins

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