Rated PG-13

129 Minutes

Released May 26


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has a style comparable to a silent film epic such as Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936). There are critics who are panning the film as having scant plotlines featuring redundant pirate antics and adventures. However isn’t that what Pirates of the Caribbean is all about? The majority of audiences don’t tire of seeing Johnny Depp portray “Captain Jack Sparrow” because the character is entirely unique and charming. And, there is something universally romantic about a pirate’s adventurous life that we all yearn for. That untamed lifestyle lends itself to the depiction of a visually extraordinary realm with the classic voyager/ wanderer at the heart of the story. In the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise the character embodied by Johnny Depp is able to add a great measure of laughter at his own foibles and at the human predicament. Depp has created a character for the ages in Jack. He portrays an “innocent” with a sense of absolute joy and wonder at the journey of life.

To really experience the stunning visual quality of these movies you must surrender your need for a detailed plot and simply sit back and enjoy the ride. Imagine that you are attending a silent film, watching a simple story moved along exquisitely by the music and the visual dreamscapes on the screen. These elements of the film portray the energy and forces of the sea. Javier Bardem’s hair that seems to be floating underwater in the undulations of the waves even when he is above the surface, as the ghost of “Captain Salazar.” All of the ghost pirates seem to be drifting on top of incoming waves, even the sea bird specters.

Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg are childhood friends from Norway who have been making films together since they were kids. They became known for directing top US commercials. Then they directed the award-winning Norwegian film Max Manus. Their most recent project was Kon Tiki, the story of legendary explorer/writer Thor Heyerdahl who crossed the Pacific Ocean on a balsa raft in 1947.

There are two fascinating female characters. Kaya Scodelario stars as “Carina.” Rather than the usual “damsel in distress” she is a medieval scientist, unafraid of taking risks, who has learned astronomy from books and can use the stars to navigate a ship. Golshifteh Farahani gives a brilliant performance as a soothsayer. She was the colorful wife of Adam Driver’s character in Paterson – a rising star to watch. Another good casting choice is Australian actor Brenton Thwaites as the quixotic son of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s characters.

I believe that many years from now this movie will be considered a classic example of great filmmaking. The directors harnessed the seductive movement of the sea in almost every frame. The strength of the movie is not in all the plots and subplots. It’s about man’s relationship with the ocean, about adventure and breaking away from mundane expectations.


Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com. For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com