Finally, another big-name actor came out with a film! And… it’s a huge disappointment.
Capone is the new film from Fantastic Four (2015) director, Josh Trank, starring Tom Hardy. Knowing this, it’s not surprising this film was a flop considering how awful Fant4stic (as many people jokingly call it) was. But, the thing is, Trank’s first film, Chronicle, was not bad! I remember enjoying it. So I had hoped that maybe Fant4stic was a one-time thing.
Plus, Tom Hardy is a pretty good actor. I’ve enjoyed most roles I’ve seen him in (yes, even as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises). So how bad could Capone be? Pretty bad, actually.
Basically, the concept is you have Al Capone who is past his glory days. He’s out of prison for his tax evasion, and now his mind and body are being eaten away by dementia and neurosyphilis. Not a bad premise. In fact, you could make a great movie out of that. But that’s basically all it is, and they don’t make it work for this film. It’s about as interesting as watching an old guy you don’t know at a nursing home.
Now they do throw in some dream sequences and some hallucinations that Capone has. And those are interesting. But they’re more confusing than anything. It’s hard to decipher what purpose they serve the story. Are they flashbacks? Or is Capone just delusional? I mean, it could be both at the same time.
There’s a subplot in which Capone has hidden away a bunch of money, but he doesn’t remember where it is. There are also FBI agents that Capone is paranoid about, and they really are watching him. But I don’t remember that coming to fruition and affecting the outcome of the story.
Minor spoilers, just in this paragraph! (But I don’t care a whole lot about spoiling this film). There’s this moment in the film where Al Capone goes on a killing spree with a machine gun and starts shooting at his friends and family, the people who were looking after him. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is interesting. I never knew this happened. I think this movie is getting kinda good.” But then it turns out it was just another delusion! Like, wow! Ok… Way to cheat me out of an interesting moment that ends up being utterly pointless.
Not even Tom Hardy could save this film. You could say he was the last big weight to sink it. I feel like Hardy was trying to go for the role of his career and get an Oscar for this. But man, he goes too far in a lot of places. I don’t know whose idea it was for him to take the direction that he did with the character, but it does not translate well on screen. Tom Hardy puts on this weird voice that sounds like an exaggeration of a grumpy old man that seems more comical than serious. I thought that’s what he was going for at first until I looked up that Capone was in his early 40s when he died!
I don’t know if this performance from Tom was historically accurate to Al Capone during these times or not. I just know that I could not take him seriously. In fact, there were scenes where I was actually laughing out loud (or “lol-ing” as the kids would say). It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so hard at a film that wasn’t trying to be funny.
All of the other characters were pretty boring by comparison. The only other interesting character was Capone’s wife, played by Linda Cardellini. She’s only interesting because she has to look after her husband who is becoming a shell of who he was. She has to deal with him crapping the bed, losing his mind, and forgetting things. You really start to feel bad for her. But that’s it.
I need to share the dumbest and my favorite line of the entire movie, spoken by one of the FBI agents: “You know what the difference is between Adolph Hitler and Al Capone? Hitler’s dead.” It cracks me up, so I had to share it with you all.
Another issue I had with this film—and I don’t know what anyone else thinks—was Tom Hardy’s make-up. It didn’t have me convinced. Now, I don’t know a whole lot about make-up, but I do know that all I could see was Tom Hardy in make-up pretending to be Al Capone. I don’t think that’s supposed to happen.
The overall look of the film is fine. The cinematography is competent. There actually are some pretty interesting visuals in this film, mostly in the dream sequences. The big technical problem I had with the film was the editing. I don’t talk about editing a whole lot in my reviews, because good editing means you don’t notice it. But there are just way too many fast cuts in this film, and it makes the viewing experience uncomfortable.
If nothing else, it was entertaining to laugh at Tom Hardy’s performance. But honestly, I was pretty bored during most of the movie. It’s an interesting idea that turns out to be a confusing, lackluster mess. If you’re at all interested in seeing it, you can rent it on iTunes or YouTube for $10. But, in my opinion, you’re better off watching good gangster films like Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs, or The Irishman.
Episode 011 | Say Goodnight Kevin Podcast
Tyler Smith, film critic, podcast host, and director of the film “Reel Redemption”, joins Kevin for an exciting conversation about the history of Christian film and the state it is in today.