Movie Review: ‘Capone’ is Not The Movie You Expect

The most notorious OG of them all, Al Capone, gets a new movie treatment. Before you start envisioning mob shootouts and boozin’ galore—stop. It’s not going to happen. This isn’t a movie about Capone in his hayday. Heck, it’s not even really a movie about “Capone” (more on that below). So does Capone live up to expectation?

WHAT’S IT ABOUT:

Tom Hardy plays Al “Fonse” Capone. It’s Capone at the end of his life. In the movie Capone is 47-years-old going on 77 by the way he looks. He has been released from Alcatraz after serving a decade behind bars.

The feds are still tracking him. Everyone around him is trying to find out where the alleged 10 million he hid is at. All that’s going around him doesn’t even seem to matter as Capone is suffering from neurosyphilis and is deteriorating mentally and physically.

The film takes a look at the final year of his life as he is haunted with visions of his past, as the dementia takes over one of the most feared men of his time.

OBSERVATIONS AND TAKEAWAYS:

I’m aware there will certainly be misconceptions of what this movie is and what it should be to many. This is certainly not a movie about the notorious gangster Al Capone in his hayday running the streets of Chicago. This story takes place in Florida where a feeble Fonse is tormented by his past and the disease that’s taking over him.

The movie should be called “Fonse” as allude by writer/director Josh Trank (more on him coming up). It’s really a story about an individual dealing with the horrors of neurosyphilis and a dementia that’s made him a shell of his former self.

There are two perspectives you can take in how you view this film. You can either be disappointed that you aren’t seeing a movie about the bootlegging mafia king, or you can view it for what it actually is, a story about a broken sick individual and how his disease affects all those around him, especially his wife Mae.

I can see how this film would leave a bad taste in your mouth if you had high expectations for it to be the a biography or retelling of his famous Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Those movies have been done already. Not to toot my own horn (ok I am a little bit), but I’m being open-minded to what this movie actually is.

Look, I’m not gonna lie, Capone isn’t very exciting or action-packed. It’s rather slow paced and not much happens, besides character interaction and one gun trotting scene later in the movie. If you need that adrenaline boost, you won’t get it here. It’s just not that kind of a movie. If you can deal with the pacing and lack of a big climax (get your mind out of the gutter), then you’ll get through it.

I can already see people having an issue with the unpleasant nature of the content. It’s not fun to see someone crap the bed, pee themselves and puke their guts out. You will see all these things. It’s gross, I get it, but the reality is that’s what happens to people who suffer from diseases like Capone was.

My mother is a caregiver and my sister is a nurse, I had seen these patients up close that my family has worked with. The depiction of this in the movie was pretty accurate and true to life. Personally, I’d rather see a truthful depiction than one that isn’t, and considering it’s about someone dealing with an illness, it’s right to portray it in an honest way. It’s what these caregivers have to deal with on a daily basis and what makes their jobs so challenging.

The man behind the movie is a somewhat of an infamous figure in the entertainment industry. Josh Trank wrote, directed and edited Capone. It’s pretty much his baby. Trank has had his fair share of criticism, but it’s time to stop judging someone about their past. One movie does not make or end a career. I feel he got a raw deal with how the last Fantastic Four came out. Point is, he gets a shot at redemption with Capone and it’s completely a polar opposite of what he’s done before.

HOW DID THE ACTORS DO:

Tom Hardy is quite the draw. He’s arguably one of the finest actors in the industry, especially when it comes to character acting (see: Bronson). Hardy does tremendous work transforming himself into an individual who is at life’s mercy. His nuances and cadence is on point. He just knows how to delve deeply into a character and completely own it. Another stellar performance from Hardy.

Linda Cardellini plays Mae Capone, the diligent and committed wife of the ailing mobster. Mae is the glue of this movie. She is the guiding hand in Fonse’s life. More a caregiver than a wife. Cardellini does a real nice job playing Mae by portraying her with a quiet strength.

Matt Dillon plays Capone’s old sidekick from his Chicago days. Haven’t seen Dillon in a hot minute so it was good to see him in a role that seemed suitable for him. Dillon’s scenes with Hardy are some of the more engaging and entertaining ones.

Overall, the acting is a strong point. Well cast all-around with strong supporting actors such as Kyle MacLachlan, Kathrine Narducci and Jack Lowden.

SHOULD YOU SEE IT:

If you’re willing to view it as it is intended to be, then it’s worth a watch. If you’re just hoping for a gangster throwback of Capone in the old days, this isn’t that kind of a movie. This is a look at someone going through an ugly end of disease. It’s not pretty, there is no happy ending, and it’s slower paced, but it’s also a fairly authentic look at an individual that’s being destroyed by an illness.

Hardy was the right choice. He delved into to character to the point it’s a bit of a detriment to the viewer. True to playing Fonse, he NEVER lets the big cigar out of his mouth, so there is a constant mumble of speech that’s hard to comprehend. I found myself playing with the volume on the remote, trying to adjust it to understand what Hardy is saying, but then lower it immediately when someone else speaks.

I wouldn’t call this an entertaining film. It has a bit of a documentary feel to it based on the plot. Speaking of the plot, not much happens throughout, but there are several moments of the visions and flashbacks that take you to some sort of an action, only to learn it was yet another fall that Fonse endures that caused them to come back.

I give credit to Trank for being bold and making a film in his vision based on his experiences. He did a complete 180 from what he was known for before. In a lot of ways this film is an awakening and redemption for Trank. A maturing of a filmmaker and person. It’s been five years since he last made a movie.

While the title might be somewhat misleading, the story isn’t an old rehashing of Al Capone. It’s a unique look at a man that’s fallen from the top to the lowly bottom, sort of like Trank did. Only in Trank’s case he gets to redeem himself and start a new journey. Frank Sinatra once sang “I did it my way,” which certainly rings true to what Trank just accomplished. Like it or not, he did it his way, which is not something everyone can say they can do.

GENRE: Biography, Crime, Drama

RATING: R

RUNTIME: 1 hr 43 min

RELEASE DATE: May 12, 2020 on VOD and Digital

  • Acting: 8/10
  • Entertainment: 4/10
  • Story/Plot: 7/10
  • Impression: 8/10
  • Creativity7.5/10

‘CAPONE’ Score: 70%

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