New York, 1971. Following his celebrated days as one of the most revered photojournalists of World War II, W. Eugene Smith (Johnny Depp) has become a recluse, disconnected from society and his career. But a secret commission from Life magazine editor Robert Hayes (Bill Nighy) sends him to the Japanese coastal city of Minamata, which has been ravaged by mercury poisoning; the result of decades of gross industrial negligence by the country’s Chisso Corporation. There, Smith immerses himself in the community, documenting their efforts to live with Minamata Disease and their passionate campaign to achieve recognition from Chisso and the Japanese government.
“Levitas’ unusually even-handed approach works to balance the film’s inspirational true story with its tragic real-world context, by refusing to overstate Smith’s personal heroics, while sensitively outlining the everyday heroism of the ordinary men and women most grievously affected.” ~Jessica Kiang, The Playlist