After 2015’s cinematic disaster, it is hard to fathom why Josh Trank received funding not just for a major film, but one to star Tom Hardy in the titular role. At least 12 months ago, photos of Hardy in full make-up as an older Capone circulated the internet. and whether it was intentional or not, this backfired
Many, including myself, were waiting to see Hardy play another notorious criminal were left severely disappointed. especially after his efforts playing Charlie Bronson and both Kray twins. Expectations were high. Our wishes was fulfilled, but Capone is a film that is comical in the worst way: the man’s mental deterioration is funny, immensely so, a sentence that feels wrong as I write it.
Ignoring the fact that Hardy doesn’t resemble Capone at all – the makeup a smidge over the top then – worse still is that to public knowledge, Capone’s voice doesn’t exist on tape. Hardy chews scenes effortlessly, his raspy, three packets a day smoker’s voice memorable and consistent with an effortless hint of the mans Italian/Brooklyn roots.
One has to wonder if this voice was his decision or Trank’s, as the biggest influence is for the most part based on a Bugs Bunny episode. This is not a joke.
Apart from Hardy, finding anything to comment on in a positive light is difficult. The unintentional comedic value: Al ‘smokes’ carrots, unable to differentiate it from a cigar, is a legitimately funny idea, as is a diaper-clad Al firing a gold-plated tommy gun. Neither are presented as comedic though, and to the knowledge of those close to Al in his final days, these scenes are entirely fictional.
The movie also suffers from the vast difference between his hallucinations and reality: in an early, extended scene reminiscent of The Overlook’s party taking place in Jack’s mind, here it is in his basement. He sing a version of a song that didn’t exist at the time, which given the above examples isn’t surprising, the most egregious (and a continued motif) narrative decision is to connect an important part of these delusions to reality. Worse still, it is hardly a small detail, yet its importance is barely emphasised, simply causing confusion.
Of course, ther entire idea is fictitious, rendering its jump from insanity into reality absurd, unrealistic and proof that Trank cannot write.
The LSD-like hallucinations make up a fair portion of the film, unsurprising given his brain’s deterioration, but Trank either doesn’t have the finesse to create any suspense as to whether a hallucination could potentially be reality, or the premise is one he never entertained. We’re only kept guessing when he yells at supposed enemies hiding in the woods that surround his backyard, but the constant surveillance he was under render these scenes a little pointless. His use of a shotgun while fishing could certainly be either, but its importance is fleeting.
The supporting casts’ performances are solid at best, only his wife giving a somewhat memorable display. However we can barely connect with her shallow depiction. in fact even any exploration of Al’s character is minimal. He is a criminal who losing his ability to function. It is unclear if this is to elicit pity, but regardless it is yet more incredibly lazy writing.
The screenplay? Confusing is understating affairs, containing so many untied loose ends it is best compared to a maze with no exit as several peripheral plotlines are left unexplored, unfinished, or simply confusing.
The concept that the film is about the guilt someone like Al may feel at this stage of his life seems, until one realises, or rather, forgets, how bad the script is and that nothing is said to support this notion.
Often covered in his own vomit and/or feces, the film feels like a cinematic hit job on the notorious gangster, only he is the one on the receiving end.
This is worth two beers out a sixer, its only strength being Hardy.
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