top of page
  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'Capone' Review: Tom Hardy Plays The Mob Boss In Josh Trank's Biographical Crime Drama

Tom Hardy talking on the phone
Vertical Entertainment

''A biographical drama about Al Capone who might have hidden 10 million dollars somewhere, only to not remember where while law enforcement is gathering intel about it? Give it to me right away!'' is what I might have said about director-writer-editor Josh Trank's Capone before it came out, granted that I had even heard about it coming out. Perhaps that is what you might expect from a movie that follows the infamous mob boss in his later life as he's out of prison by then, too bad that it may shock and disappoint you all the same to know that it isn't about that. What you do get in return is a confusing tale of an old fart that is as interesting as an earthworm, only to be slightly entertaining for few moments here and there because the actors are really hamming it up.

It's not the Capone you're used to seeing and hearing about, instead we find him in his 40s (he died at the age of 48) as he has been diagnosed with neurosyphilis which causes brain damage. He has hallucinations, often defecates on himself and is physically regressing while the subplot follows FBI agents surveilling him for the suspected $10 million he could have hidden somewhere. Tom Hardy is really trying something else altogether in the role as the voice is rather gnarly (you surprisingly get used to it), there's some interesting prosthetic work going on it seems and whenever Capone is confused by his visions, Hardy really gets that through in the performance. Linda Cardellini (as Mae, Capone's wife) brings some emotional gravitas to the film in her small role while Kyle MacLachlan (as Dr. Karlock) plays the slimy doctor role convincingly.

Sometimes performances from a movie can be hard to judge as a whole later when the material isn't nearly as poignant, such is the case here. It's notable that Trank attempts to tell a story about this famous criminal when he is at his lowest as it's certainly ambitious but the thing is, the execution is just plain dull. The distinction between Capone's hallucinations and what is really happening as seen by other characters is constantly blurry but unintentionally it seems. Rules regarding making those separate are broken few times so everything becomes a mess. Ultimately what you need to ask about the film as well is ''What did I get out of this?'' or ''What this film is really trying to tell you?'' and you frankly never get answers to them since the story or character arcs aren't fulfilling, informative or engaging. You're just left with poop stains from a delirious, diaper-wearing man with a golden machine gun.

Smileys: Acting

Frowneys: Characterisation, screenplay, story

The alligator bit was hilarious, you must admit.


bottom of page