Review by Camden Ferrell
After the fallout of his previous film, Fantastic Four, Josh Trank (Chronicle) has returned to the director’s chair for his newest feature. Capone is his first film in 5 years, and he served as writer, director, and editor. While it is undoubtedly the result of singular vision, the ostentatious performances, muddled script, and poor execution make this movie a major misfire.
This movie tells the story of legendary and notorious gangster Al Capone. However, the film doesn’t focus on his years as a crime boss, but it opts to tell the story of the end of his life. After no longer being deemed to be a public threat, we see Capone as he is released from prison as his health declines due to neurosyphilis. This is a period of Capone’s life that isn’t often talked about, and while it could have been interesting to see him in this time, this movie squanders this premise with sloppy writing and themes.
The script is very weak throughout. It juggles a lot of cliché dialogue throughout, and it feels terribly superficial. It also fails to elucidate some of the basic facts of this story, and even though this could be for the sake of ambiguity or artistic merit, it comes off as messy and uncontrolled. It’s not as insightful as it tries to believe it is, and it leaves one knowing very little about its titular character. This is a shame considering how retrospective the movie tried to be.
The acting is also all over the place. Tom Hardy (Venom) plays Al Capone, and his performance ranges between uninspired and off the rails. A lot of the time, he painfully overacts every scene, delivering his dialogue with a baffling accent. It’s comes off as a caricature rather than an honest depiction of its subject. Even though some members of the cast like Linda Cardellini (Dead to Me) and the typically reliable Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) are somewhat passable, the rest of the cast fails to add anything of worth to the film.
Trank’s execution is also erratic. It jumps between a variety of paces and tones, and it does so with abrupt shifts that make little narrative or thematic sense. It’s clear that he’s a director with a distinct vision, but it’s a shame that the vision is clouded and involves a lot of unique albeit misguided creative choices. It is possible that this movie could just be another misstep for Trank, but there are some glimmers of hope in a handful of moments throughout the movie that suggest better things to come in the future.
Peter Deming (Twin Peaks) was the director of photography for this movie, so it should have been as visually stunning as his other works. However, this wasn’t terrible, but it was one of the bigger let downs of the film. He usually delivers with some stylish visuals and beautiful imagery, but this movie doesn’t fully deliver on this. There are a few really great shots, but many of the scenes feel lackluster and somewhat uninspired. This along with the film’s score leaves a lot to be desired.
Ultimately, the movie is an extremely confusing and shallow look at the legacy of one of the most famous men of the 20th century. It’s moments of tension are weak, and they do little to add to the entertainment value of the movie. Despite being under two hours, this movie feels sluggish, and it is rather uninteresting for most of its runtime.
Capone is one of the most bizarre movies of the year, and it’s one that is better left unseen. While it’s subject is somewhat interesting, its themes and messages are lost in senility. There is a profound lack of awareness, strong performances, or sound creative choices, and it wastes the potential of its cast and intriguing subject matter.
Capone will be available on VOD May 12.