Capone, Movie Review
Scarface. Public Enemy No. 1. Snorky. The infamous Prohibition gangster has many names, but Fonse is the preferred one in Capone, a maddening and miserable plunge into the final year of his life. His body suffering from syphilis and his brain devoured by dementia, Al Capone has dwindled into a cigar-chomping corpse who isn’t feared, has swapped out talking for slobbering, and shits the bed. That’s only a hint (more of a warning, really) of what to brace for when witnessing Tom Hardy’s dedicated, demented depiction of him. He’s a sight for sore eyes.
With death on his doorstep, Capone wastes away in his Florida mansion with his faithful wife Mae (Linda Cardellini), his brother Ralphie (Al Sapienza), and his son Sonny (Noel Fisher) by his side. There are others that keep him company as well like Agent Crawford (Jack Lowden) and his FBI buds who are keeping tabs around the clock. There’s also visits from a bizarre doctor (Kyle MacLachlan) who wants to replace Fonse’s stogies with fresh carrots, and a fellow goon (Matt Dillon) who goes to extremes for Capone to look him dead in his eyes. And what about Capone’s bastard son (Mason Guccione) and his random phone calls?
Written and directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle), it’s difficult to decipher what’s real and what isn’t in Capone. There’s the assumption by all involved that Fonse has buried $10 million dollars somewhere on his property. Even if he did, prying that information from him is going to be damn near impossible at this stage. The notorious mobster has lost his mind, so Trank uses it as an excuse to let Fonse’s fucked up fantasies run wild. No biggie. It’s the very few times you get a dose of that unflinching mafia violence.
Trank is none too enthused about Capone’s past and how he got all of those nicknames mentioned at the beginning. That sadly only leaves the invalid and isolated Capone. And while assuredly ambitious in highlighting his dying days – Capone is a rambling, painfully pointless attempt to shine a new light on a dark soul. It’s the ugliest, grossest version imaginable, and it’s draining to get through. Not even Hardy going balls to the wall, injecting insight that goes well beyond the realm of reality, can make this feel needed nor necessary.
Brandon Vick is a member of The Music City Film Critics’ Association, the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and the star of The Vick’s Flicks Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.