Capone allows us into the declining life of Al "Fonzo" Capone as he lives out his last year in Florida. What could have been a great film falls short.
When you think of Al Capone, don of the moonshine wars and Chicago's most infamous 1930s gangster, a man of power and circumstance comes to mind. No one thinks about an old man suffering the last remnants of syphilitic insanity living out the final year of his life in Florida. But the gangster didn't die in prison, as many assume. He retired to Florida with his wife. He descended into senility reasonably quickly. This film covers his last year, although why director Josh Trank thought it would make for good cinema is anyone's guess.
If you were heading into this to see an action flick, take my warning and go elsewhere immediately. There aren't many illuminating factors remaining for this film. It starts off aiming to be a cinematic masterpiece, and it might have been something amazing if it picked the right things to focus on. Instead, it takes Capone and transforms him from a legendary character into someone who defecates in bed and sees things out of the corner of his eye. If the movie had a point to doing this, then it may have been forgivable. However, it doesn't even offer any substance for its recharacterization of a romanticized 20th-century criminal.
Bad isn't a good enough word to describe this script. It starts with an okay premise and slowly descends into madness as it follows the main character. There are moments of brilliance in between, where Capone relives the victims that he slaughtered in his reign of terror over Chicago. As stunning as those sequences are, the film fails to tie them into anything other than demonstrating that "Fonzo" is going senile. While Al Capone's final year of life might have been a stunning method of bringing the romanticizing of Prohibition Era Gangsters down a peg, it instead feels like a long-winded way to make fun of a man during his last year of life.
One of, if not the only redeeming factor in this film is its cast. Supporting actors Matt Dillon as Johnny and Linda Cardellini as Mae serve as a perfect counterfoil the lead character. Each of them is brilliant in their portrayals. Not for a second do they break character, adding to the immersive nature of the film. However, the real star here is Tom Hardy. Method actors usually tend to overdo things, and as Hardy is a member of this school of acting, it's unsurprising that we don't see him in the role, we experience what an aging Al Capone would look like. Hardy breathes, sweats, and cries this role. It was a disappointment that the director didn't make better use of such a fine actor in the lead role.
I didn't come into this movie with the expectation of action. Even then, I was even less impressed with the pacing of the film. The movie trudges along, and at points, it seems like it loses the plot. Earlier on, the characters mention something about ten million dollars of loot buried somewhere only to forget about wrapping up this thread in the resolution promptly. While the flashbacks do a lot to evoke horror, they seem like stand-alone shock scenes thrown in there to remind the viewer that they're watching a serious film. The pacing was likely the most disappointing part of this entire exercise.
The shots, background, costumes, and all the filler information seem to be on point. The film is masterfully put together as you'd expect for someone of such stature as Josh Trank. However, while the film is beautiful to watch, the substance in it lets it down. The argument could be made that, as it follows Capone's descent into the jaws of madness, so too the viewer is drawn into its maw. However, the moments in between where we witness the other characters interact with Capone makes us take pause. Are we an observer, or are we directly watching Capone's madness overtake him? The film is never clear on this. While this might be considered an artsy methodology, it falls flat with a contemporary audience.
The movie's redeeming characteristics in its quality of production and cast are firmly overshadowed by the lack of flow and understanding of the plot. There is no plot to speak of in many parts of the film, just a loose collection of things that happened to an aging gangster. Capone underlines anxiety and impotence, especially in one used to being powerful and obeyed. If only it could relate that to an actual plot, then this might be a supremely watchable film.Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by trinikid.com