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Capone Review: Josh Trank & Tom Hardy

Capone has soaring aspirations of being the following excellent police procedural, yet disappoints discovering an engaging tale regarding its topic’s last days.


Initially released in 2016, supervisor Josh Trank's Al Capone biopic, Capone (formerly referred to as Fonzo), is ultimately comprehending the daylight. The job is something of a possible return lorry for the filmmaker, whose previous motion picture was the well-known Fantastic Four reboot that flopped at package workplace and also was seriously panned. Studio examine most certainly contributed in just how Fantastic Four ended up. Hence, customers wanted seeing if Trank can regain the assurance he revealed on 2012's Chronicle working with an independent police procedural. Sadly, he misses the mark here. Capone has lofty ambitions of being the next high crime drama but falls short of finding a compelling story about its subject's final days.

Tom Hardy stars in Capone as the iconic gangster, who is suffering from insanity following a lengthy prison sentence. Living in his lavish Florida home under government surveillance, Capone's wife Mae (Linda Cardellini), son Junior (Noel Fisher), and others care for him as his mental and physical health deteriorate. Capone struggles to maintain his grip on reality as his situation becomes direr, and he tries to unpack the mystery surrounding $10 million he hid somewhere.

Capone looks to differentiate itself from other crime genre approaches by focusing solely on the end of Capone's life and all the hardships that caused. On paper, it's an exciting approach, and in some respects, it works reasonably well. Seeing a broken Capone sitting on the wild estate makes for an eye-catching visual juxtaposition, referencing his past while illustrating how far he's fallen. Trank also incorporates a radio dramatization of the St. Valentine's Day murder to remind viewers of the person Capone was. However, these are surface-level details that can't make up for the script (which Trank also wrote). Capone isn't always the most exciting watch on a narrative level, despite having a pair of through-lines that try to give it any structure. Neither is resolved satisfyingly, negatively affecting the film's impact, and even worse, making viewers wonder what the point was.

The film needed a savvy and skilled helmsman to handle the delicate story at its core. Sadly, Trank isn't entirely up for the task. Capone's depiction of a mentally-ill Capone frequently teeters between tragedy and unintentional comedy depending on the situation. It's clear Trank wanted viewers to feel sympathy for this version of Capone, who is haunted by his past and dealing with a medical condition beyond his control, but it doesn't always work. Sequences that highlight Capone's fractured mental state tend to run on for too long, without adding much of value to the story. Unfortunately, others are better at making Capone seem like a stereotypical “crazy person” than digging deeper and finding nuance. Trank deserves some credit for trying to tackle an ambitious project (combining crime with psychological horror elements), but the feeling is he's out of his wheelhouse here.

Hardy gives Capone a big name to draw people in, getting through another performance with one of his trademark “funny” voices (whether one changes to it or not will depend on the viewer). In some respects, this is a transformative role for Hardy; it's nearly impossible to look away when he's onscreen. But that is more of a testament to the Capone makeup team going the extra mile to alter Hardy's physical appearance than what the actor's doing. This isn't to say he's terrible in the role, but the script makes it so this isn't the best use of the Academy Award nominee's talents. Most watching Capone will know Hardy can more. As for the supporting cast, all the parts here are thinly-written and don't give the actors much to work with. Even the meatier roles like Mae and Capone's friend Johnny (Matt Dillon) are mostly two-dimensional.

Capone ultimately plays like an effort to make a feature film out of The Irishman's final stretch, only minus the gravitas and emotional poignancy of that picture. One can see what Trank is aiming for, but Capone mostly misses its marks more often than not. The film might have benefitted from being a little longer (it clocks in at under two hours), giving it more room to flesh out its core story. Even though this focuses on one year of Capone's life, the result is still thin, and it feels like it can have dug deeper. The lack of new releases may encourage viewers to check this one out for something to watch, but unless one is a die-hard fan of Hardy or criminal activity dramas, this messy movie does not have a lot to use.

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