Friday Film Review--"Capone"
Do we need another movie about Al Capone? Libby Wadman has this week’s Friday Film Review. And she says—actually, No.
If you are looking for something new on the streaming services, Amazon Prime has "Capone", the new film from writer/director Josh Trank, known for his work on "The Fantastic Four" and "Chronicle".
There are many films recounting the exploits of mobster Al Capone, but this 2020 offering is different in that it looks at the last part of Capone’s life. The film opens with an explanation that after eight years of imprisonment for tax evasion, Capone was granted an early release because of his declining health from syphilis. The film picks up at the sprawling Capone estate on Palm Island, Florida, with the family packing up valuable belongings for sale, as they are short of money. Capone muses at one point that he buried $10 million but just can’t remember where. While this is a hopeful hint that a search for Capone’s fortune may ensue, that thread basically sizzles. Instead, the film focuses on syphilitic hallucinations of past events, which intertwine with the present reality.
There was a lot of hope and anticipation on this critic’s part for this film, as Tom Hardy, who is cast as Capone, always delivers an engaging portrayal and this title character has fascinated many since his mobster days, which is evidenced by the number of films he has inspired. Unfortunately, while Hardy did a fair job, it was hardly a compelling performance. Co-star Linda Cardellini, as his wife Mae, for the short time she is on screen, also does a fair job.
Writer/director Trank had said that after "The Fantastic Four", he wanted to do something totally original and "Capone" is the result. His idea of looking at Capone’s final days, while an interesting angle, in Trank’s hands failed epically. One problem is there really isn’t much that’s fact except the premise and the syphilis. Even worse, there is nothing engaging in his story, which is why actors who usually turn in solid performances didn’t. They simply had nothing to work with. Capone apparently had very loyal people with him during the end, but watching this film one can only scratch their head and wonder why? There are no events, no chemistry, nothing to explain why they stayed with him. There is also the issue of what is reality and what is hallucination. The story is seen from multiple points of view, not just Capone’s, so the viewer is quite often left wondering what is real and what is Capone’s vision.
"Capone" was actually due to be released in theaters, but it was decided to release it on Amazon Prime. That move may have spared the filmmaker some of the embarrassment he might have otherwise suffered.
"Capone" is rated R for strong and bloody violence, pervasive language and some sexuality and is a most painful 1 hour and 43 minutes in length. My advice, if you are seeking entertainment and only have watching "Capone" or watching paint dry as your choices, watch the paint!
This is Libby Wadman with the Friday Film Review, reminding you that film is always fun and fascinating.