Johnny Depp doesn’t seem like the kind of actor who would appear in a crime-thriller about a cold case involving black rappers shooting each other dead, yet Depp is plastered front and center in the upcoming film City of Lies co-starring Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker.
It’s obviously Depp’s way of trying to get back into the good graces of movie audiences after starring in a number of duds like Dark Shadows and Mortdecai, as well as being involved with a number of public hijinks and personal mishaps that would leave a sour taste in the mouth of any normal human being.
Anyway, the movie is about Whitaker, a journalist, investigating the cold case of two dead rappers. One of the detectives who had been investigating the case, Depp, helps Whitaker further delve into the culture of violence and gun-worship associated with the rap industry.
City of Lies obviously isn’t a typical buddy-up flick like 48 Hours or the adventure-comedy flick, I Love Trouble, about rival reporters. Instead it seems to want to mix some action-beats with cop-drama thrills and top it off with some form of sociopolitical commentary about the LAPD and rap culture. It reminds me a little bit of Street Kings and End of Watch.
You can check out the trailer below courtesy of Movieclips Trailers.
Given today’s caustic political landscape, a movie about a potential cover-up in the police department will likely devolve into Hollywood virtue-signaling about oppression and police brutality, as opposed to centering around the fact that most people see rap culture as another form of murder culture.
On the outset, City of Lies looks like a solid film in terms of its technical integrity. It’s definitely well shot, and it has that Michael Mann-esque depiction of a very grounded Los Angeles.
Obviously the make it or break it moment for the film will be whether or not the virtue signaling overwhelms the pace and dramatic beats of the movie. If critics praise the film with good review scores for its sociopolitical messaging then you darn well better believe that it’s a movie worth skipping, but if they give the film the Bright treatment for not being “woke” enough, then you know that it’s a film worth watching.
City of Lies is due out in theaters on September 7th, later this year.