Director – Josh Trunk
cast – Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Jack Lowden, Matt Dillon, Kyle McLachlan
Intentionally provocative and frankly dirty, Capone is a rancid burst from a movie you have to believe in. But advising you to watch is like flying during the current pandemic; you may not be the same person coming out of this pandemic.
The logical step would be, like jumping into a plane right now, to avoid it altogether. But there’s Tom Hardy, and everything you’ve seen and read about his objectively crazy performance almost makes you realize that you have to have the courage to move the game forward.
Look at Capone’s trailer.
Capone, formerly known as Fonzo, is not a typical biopic or traditional gangster image. In telling the story of Al Capone, perhaps the most notorious criminal of all time, he ignores the stories in his life that any other film would immediately take root. Nor does it dramatize the horrible 1929 Valentine’s Day massacre, mentioned in everything from Scarface to the untouchables, and does it focus on Capone in Alcatraz, where the horrible gangster was given a rather luxurious personal camera. Instead, writer and publisher Josh Trunk sets only one chapter of his life to zero. The last one.
But not Lincoln. This unholy descendant of Benjamin Button and Shining is a film that reflects Capone’s descent into madness in a downward spiral. In 1947, when our nation awoke to life and freedom, Al Capone lived his final days in Florida, in the shadow of his former self, body and mind, and succumbed quickly to neurosyphilis.
As the film progresses, Capone, who has never been called that – it’s always Fonze or Fonzo – begins to hallucinate scenes from his past. He sees the traces of violence and blood he left behind, the lives he destroyed and how he was fascinated by his own legend. And now, with the mental capacities of an infant, all this is useless – the fans are gone, his wealth is exhausted, his family’s trust in him is shattered.
This photo, published by the Vertical Entertainment Company, shows Linda Cardellini (left) and Tom Hardy in a scene from the movie Capone.
That’s the movie Potion was trying to make, but it’s not the one I saw. The director, who after a refreshing look at the superhero genre with his debut film Chronicle immediately hit the wheel of a big-budget blockbuster, committed suicide after tweeting against his efforts in the second half of his life, 2015 Fantastic Reload Four. While waiting for Capone, Trank openly recalls his terrible experience with the Fantastic Four and seems to accept the broken heart she left him. The themes he addresses in Capone – isolation, guilt, arrogance – seem in a certain sense terribly personal.
And Tom Hardy must have signed up for the movie. However, after landing on the star of his dreams, Trank just seems to clear the orbit for him without using a single wave of glow sticks to guide him down the right path. In a career full of frustrating performances – remember it was the man who created Bronson – it was probably the most distant Hardy who forced the audience to be patient.
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It looks like a dying horse, says one of Capone’s characters in the film. And Hardy unleashes what can only be described as a gullet designed in the pits of hell. That’s how Capone communicates. In fact, it gets dirty more often than it binds a clear sentence. This performance is so comically exaggerated that it is absolutely impossible to take it seriously, especially with the sticky make-up they have applied to Hardy’s face.
He’s sailing, and he knows it. But Trank must have realized that Hardy’s grunt silenced the film’s subtext and actually erased its meaning. By taking an old cohort of David Lynch, in front of and behind the camera – Kyle McLachlan appears in the background, and Peter Deming – as a filmmaker – Trank undoubtedly tried to fathom Lynch’s surrealism. But the film seems disorganised, unstable and incoherent in sound. Ironically, it’s interesting, but as a fairy tale of salvation, Trank still has a long way to go.
Author Twitters @RohanNaahar