Star Cast: Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Matt Dillon, Kyle MacLachlan, Al Sapienza, Noel Fisher.
Director: Josh Trank
What’s Good: It’s just like any other click-bait article which you click reading the shiny headline. And when you get in, you realise it was a mistake when you get in. So, the bait is good (oh, and also Tom Hardy)
What’s Bad: Why do you want someone new to write, edit and direct a story that had the potential to be a classic? Also, that someone new has Fantastic Four to his credit. Why?
Loo Break: It’s 103 minutes long & still you’ll find yourself looking for reasons to take a break.
Watch or Not?: A friendly suggestion – skim through the film, watch the last 15 minutes and get back to your lockdown life.
The movie starts with a warning that though it’s a story about a notorious gangster, you’ll just be able to see what happened in the final year of his life. I should’ve taken the warning seriously because I thought this might be the year where all the substance is. But, is it? We have an ageing gangster in Al ‘Scarface’ Capone (Tom Hardy), who’s suffering from a mental disorder tertiary syphilis. Linked to over 30 murders, Fonse (because no one at his house is allowed to call him Al) is in declining age where he’s haunted by the ghosts of his past.
Fonse lives with his selflessly loving wife Mae (Linda Cardellini) to whom he once addresses as ‘stupid bit** with a pretty face’ and gets what he deserves. As he rests in the lawn, chew-smoking his cigar, he sees empire vanishing in front of his eyes. And that’s what adds to his already deteriorating mental condition. His belief on hallucinations strengthens with time, as he sees his illegitimate son Tony (Mason Guccione) reminding him of all the mess he has created in this world.
Capone Movie Review: Script Analysis
Director Josh Trank pens the film as well which I think was the worst decision by the makers, even worse than letting him direct it. He wants us to stay in Al Capone’s brain throughout the film but never gives us one solid reason why should we endure that mess for over 100 minutes? He plugs in a scene inspired by Al Pacino’s classic Scarface (which is blasphemy, FYI) but gives us no reason to get excited about it.
Tom Hardy brutally butchering people while walking through a lawn in his adult diapers holding a Golden machine gun, makes for a good picture, but where’s the substance that leads us to that scene? The infamous St Valentine’s Day Massacre is mentioned through a radio recording without any flashback. I totally understand the fact that Josh wanted to keep the film psychological and not physical, but he miserably fails at exhibiting any of them.
Capone Movie Review: Star Performance
To those who’ll judge, Tom Hardy didn’t do much apart from boasting his mysterious scene in a major chunk of the film but there’s more than that. It’s all the way harder with the fact that you don’t get your whole body to act. He’s not charming you with his looks but still holds your attention. That’s Tom Hardy for you. Despite not having a single action sequence, Hardy convinces you to believe that he was this dreaded gangster.
Linda Cardellini plays the selfless wife but gets her fair share of punching Hardy’s Capone on the face. She ought to be subtle and does a brilliant job at it. Without crossing the lines of over-the-top drama, she stays in her character maintaining the sanity amid the chaos.
Apart from these two lead characters, Mat Dillon’s Johnny gets considerable screen-presence with a decent character sketch. Not a single another character from the cast manages to shine and all of them are written half-heartedly.
Capone Movie Review: Direction, Music
Josh Trank is the guy who directed a disaster in Fantastic Four before this and there’s no way you can give Capone’s story under his control. He gets the final year of a gangster’s life to depict; he takes cinematic liberties in replacing his cigar with a carrot and giving him an illegitimate son. When he was asked why did he chose to show Capone’s illegitimate son when it didn’t happen in real, he said the chances of him having a son outside his marriage was high given “his [Capone’s] position in this world and his line of work.” This shows the lack of imagination a writer could have, and this shows the production house’s blunder of letting such a writer direct the film as well.
El-P’s soothing background score helps the aura of the film to retain the boredom. He goes all opera at certain places but nothing stays with you or elevates the watching experience of any particular scene.
Capone Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Capone is bearable just for Tom Hardy’s impeccable act and nothing else. It’s more annoying given the fact that this could easily have been a classic with a different treatment to the story.
Capone releases on 12th May 2020.
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