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Review of 'Deep v. Heard': A Deadwood Recap of the Same Painful Soap Opera

After 14 months after the viral defamation case made by actor Johnny Depp against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard took to the Netflix platform with a new docuseries directed by Emma Cooper and released this August 16. 


The series, with three episodes of approximately one hour each, chronologically recaps the most memorable moments during the six-week trial in the Fairfax County, Va. Circuit Court. At the same time, the series focuses on the different reactions from the national media and the response of various content creators through YouTube or Facebook live streams, such as 10-15 second videos that went viral on TikTok.


Long story short, it all took place in 2018, when the “Aquaman” actress wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post explaining her experience as a victim of domestic abuse, calling herself a relevant figure in the #MeToo social movement, an awareness movement founded in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke on social networks that are against sexual harassment and assault of women to end impunity for their aggressors.


In 2019, Depp sued Heard on three counts of defamation for $50 million in damages. Depp’s lawyers alleged that the article, while not naming names, clearly accused their client as an abuser and causing him job problems by not being able to get film roles and nearly being blacklisted from Hollywood-- but Heard denied it and countered with a $100 million countersuit.


Now, let’s get to the review. 


First, I must point out that if you are one of those people who followed the ex-couple and were aware of everything that happened in the trial last year, you probably don’t even need to watch this documentary; there is nothing new that this documentary will show you, at most it shows the material that was not used during the trial, that is, 6600+ pages of unsealed documents obtained from an outside source. 


The series shows you essential events and evidence at the trial relevant to the jury’s decision, such as the beginning of their courtship, the face of physical violence attacks by both parties and direct testimony from both actors. Each event goes hand in hand with the public’s opinion and many other controversies are constantly surfacing on social media as the trial progresses.  


Once again, nothing new.


As a web surfer who watched the Depp v. Heard trial and liked to watch true crime documentaries, I have mixed feelings about this docuseries.


In terms of execution and objective, I think the documentary does an outstanding job of showing - and several times on some occasions - the true power, the gigantic role of public opinion and the repercussion that was created in the digital world during the whole trial process and, consequently, in an even more difficult decision for the jury to make.  


This “TikTok trial,” according to Netflix’s synopsis, was like the perfect circus - the perfect team and the perfect tools to keep everyone asking for more; a Hollywood superstar couple contradicting each other in a televised and ‘TikToked’ trial, exposure of intimate and sensitive first-hand information from both parties, and as the final star act, outspoken content creators spilling their harshest opinion of the case and, consciously or unconsciously, influencing millions more people daily.


Consequently, many of these newly emerging creators could earn fame and money by recording themselves making funny or sarcastic parodies of one of the participants, creating memes, or simply giving their opinion of the trial - it was as simple as that. 


The editing, effects, and visual quality of the project were compelling, eye-catching and helped add interest to the narrative. Despite knowing exactly what would happen, the details, especially the editing and order, made it enjoyable to watch– the events were paced at a pace that didn’t bore you, with different information and new characters, so to speak, appearing as the story unfolded. I think for all those people who have no idea what the case is about, watching the series is a good idea if you want to know what the matter is about.


Internet users on social networks have overseen saying that this series is “unnecessary,” mainly because it has already been more than a year since the trial, so it is considered “old news.” Still, there is a more significant reason than that for the new Netflix creation to be different from what was expected. 


It is not appropriate that they have aired this series at this point, considering that this is old news that surely no one remembers anymore; both actors have resumed their daily lives, and there is no need to bring up what happened in the past.


Bringing this story up at this point would only bring back to life one of the most stressful, painful, and complicated public cases of well-known personalities in the film world in recent years. At the same time, the series would be rekindling hatred towards both actors, especially against Heard and all those who defended her and stood by her. 


And yes, the actress had everything to lose since there was evidence to prove it, but it should be time to stop hating her and let her live peacefully. Even though you can no longer believe a word she says, no one can deny the massive hate she received and will receive even more with the release of the series. 


It is ironic - even though this is a documentary based on the impact of social media and how it can be a potent but dangerous weapon if controlled by people who, many times, have no idea how much their opinion influences to making a documentary about a subject that has no end and that, no matter how you tell it, will always come back to the same old debate.


Everyone can have whatever opinion they want about this case; everyone has the right to believe whoever they wish. Cancel culture is getting stronger and stronger, and honestly, we didn’t need a documentary that would encourage more hatred. 


Depp and Heard have taken their separate paths in life and started from scratch, and we should do the same.

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Tags: #Hollywood #court #couple #Internet #Netflix #thesocialtalks #Depp #Heard #trial #TikTok #viral #documental #docuserie #Cooper #Johnny #Amber #Emma


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