Watching for Keira - Almost Nightly
It's not that her role is transcendant, or her performance electric. The former is unimportant, the latter merely spirited. But Knightley is trying - she's working the scant material. Which is more than can be said for Johnny Depp, a fine actor collecting a massive paycheck, or Orlando Bloom, a tepid actor also collecting the aforementioned lucre. Depp reprises his role as Captain Jack Sparrow - and I use reprise in the loosest sense. His first portrayal was interesting, a fascinating study in his art. In the last two - filmed together in massive Hollywood bloat - are merely copies. And Bloom, almost as pretty as Knightley, is half her talent as an actor.
One of the British Navy men said of Jack Sparrow, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Do you think he plans all this out, or just makes it up as he goes along?Ã¢â‚¬Â or words to that effect. I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but feel that way about the script. It was all well done, but some of it seemed to be plotting and twists of convenience.
The Moviegoer is even tougher:
...the swelling budgets of the two sequels, and especially the increasing reliance on CGI Ã¢â‚¬Å“spectacle,Ã¢â‚¬Â have crushed pretty much all the joy and spontaneity out of this series. They donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even stage a simple lighthearted swordfight in these movies anymore; itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all about giant sea monsters and half-man, half-fish mutants now. DeppÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still around, but now heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s off in the margins of the film, amusing himself and nobody else.
No, the movie is Knightley's. - such as it is. She fights the unfollowable plot, the insane overuse of CGI, and the lame dialogue admirably. It's a mere bywater (well-paying) to what I suspect may well be a fine career. She broke through in Bend It Like Beckham, and owned Pride and Prejudice. She's 22 years old and may well have a run not unlike Katherine Hepburn, who she resembles in body type if not in delivery and cool remove.
On to the finest performance: that of Keith Richards as Jack Sparrow's father. It is brief and perfectly brought off, even featuring a little light lute playing by the Rolling Stone. Keith clearly enjoys the role and it's well-written for him - evidence of some writing craft in a movie otherwise devoid of it. For his two minutes or so of total screen time, the review is simple: I laughed, I cried, I ate some popcorn.