Directed by: Josh Trank
Written by: Josh Trank
Starring: Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Matt Dillon, Al Sapienza, Kathrine Narducci, Noel Fisher, Kyle MacLachlan
Reviewed by: Brad Williamson
I’ve thought long and hard about this one, analyzed it from several different perspectives, and taken into account all that it does well, but it’s still a disappointing, dreadful slog. To be fully transparent I will state here that we aren’t the biggest fans of gangster movies, as evidenced by our opinions on Goodfellas and The Irishman, but Capone is on another, lower level of filmmaking than your typically long and boring mobster movie. But let’s begin with the good, of which, surprisingly, there is a fair amount.
The movie’s premise is intriguing. In using the character of Al Capone, a universally-famous gangster, to detail a descent into psychosis, all while almost ignoring the mafia aspect of the situation, the film transforms expectations. Throughout the beginning of the film you’re curious; is it about gangsters? Is it about mental health? Is it about Capone specifically? Is it a psychological thriller about none of these things that it’s supposed to be detailing? And so you continue watching with a glimmer of hope that the sum of the parts will become greater than the parts on the screen. The problem is that even after sticking with the movie, giving it chances, continuing yet again to watch because you’ve already invested all this time into it, Capone never fails to bore and underwhelm at every possible moment.
The acting is also good. Well, it’s technically good, brilliant even, but I didn’t like it. I like Tom Hardy in Mad Max, Inception, and Legend, but when he fails like in Venom, and here in Capone, it’s difficult to watch. Between the ridiculous cigar smoking, horrible voice, and absence of quality lines to contribute, his performance does more than fall flat. It falls flat, gets up, trips over its shoelaces, stumbles down the hall trying to regain its balance, only to fall again, this time down several flights of stairs. And maybe the film’s cast could have recovered from one bad performance, but none of the other characters were better than good, and the majority of screen time belongs to Hardy, so it becomes an unmitigated trainwreck.
Some of the depictions of dementia during the second half of the film were also good enough to bring to mind The Shining, but their positives stop there. They were muddled in their presentations, haphazard in their purposes, and unclear in their meanings. And it’s not the feeling you get watching a David Lynch movie, where if you think hard enough you might find answers under the surface, no, it’s more akin to the feeling provided by burning a ten-dollar bill and watching your time and money drift away as you stand by in confusion and befuddlement at what you’ve just put yourself through.
So then, now that the good is out of the way, we can address the bad: Capone is not just a bad film; it’s one of worst movies I’ve seen in my entire adult life. The direction is aimless, the writing is meaningless, there is absolutely no plot, point, or purpose to the action that occurs, the acting approaches slapstick, and the setting is so narrow that any cinematography that might have been good is rendered malignant.
I will not ever watch this film again and I recommend it to neither my worst enemy nor the world’s biggest gangster fan. Avoid. Give it the Razzie now and get out while you still can.