Directed by: Josh Trank
Starring: Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, Jack Lowden, Matt Dillon, Kyle MacLachlan
Genre: Drama, Crime, Biography
Release Date: 12 May, 2020
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Capone is a 2020 American biographical film written, directed and edited by Josh Trank, with Tom Hardy starring as the notorious gangster Al Capone. The film centers on Capone after his 11-year sentence at the United States Penitentiary, as he suffers from neurosyphilis and dementia while living in Florida. Linda Cardellini, Jack Lowden, Noel Fisher, Kyle MacLachlan, and Matt Dillon also star.
First announced in October 2016, production on the film did not begin until March 2018, lasting through May in Louisiana. Originally intended to have a theatrical release, it was released on video on demand by Vertical Entertainment on May 12, 2020. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with Hardy’s performance itself receiving a polarized response.
The 47-year old Al Capone, after 10 years in prison, starts suffering from dementia and comes to be haunted by his violent past.
Capone Movie Plot:
Once the most feared bootlegger of Chicago, Al Capone is sent to prison for tax evasion. At the age of 40, following nearly a decade of imprisonment, he is released after being deemed no longer a threat, his mind rotting from neurosyphilis.
Now retired with his family in Palm Island, Florida, Capone remains under federal watch, as they think he may be faking his insanity. Forced to sell many of his belongings to pay his debts, Capone begins to have hallucinations and loses control of his motor functions. He acknowledges that he hid $10 million, although he cannot remember where it is.
After a physical confrontation with his wife Mae, she tells Capone’s bodyguards to keep everyone away from him. Meanwhile, Capone has visions of regret of the men he killed and violent acts he had done as crime boss. His mental capacity continues to deteriorate, and now has the mind of a child.
Wracked with guilt, and having alienated all around him, Capone eventually dies in January 1947 at the age of 48. His family changes their name, and the money he allegedly hid away has never been recovered.
Capone Movie Trailer:
Deliberately provocative and downright dirty, Capone is a rancid belch of a movie that must be seen to be believed. But recommending that you watch it would be akin to forcing you to take a flight during the current pandemic; you might not come out of it the same person.
The logical move, as with hopping aboard a plane right now, would be to avoid it altogether. But there’s Tom Hardy, and everything you’ve seen and read about his objectively unhinged performance practically taunts you to have the guts to press play.
Capone, formerly known as Fonzo, isn’t a typical biopic or the traditional gangster picture. In telling the story of Al Capone, perhaps the most infamous outlaw of all time, it ignores stories from his life that any other film would’ve instantly lapped up. It doesn’t dramatise the gruesome St Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929 — referenced in everything from Scarface to The Untouchables — nor does it focus on Capone’s stint in Alcatraz, where the dreaded gangster was given a rather luxurious private cell. Instead, writer-director-editor Josh Trank zeroes in on just a chapter in his life. The final one.
But Lincoln this is not. It is the ungodly spawn of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Shining — a film whose downward spiral mirrors Capone’s own descent into madness. It’s 1947, and around the time that our nation was awakening to life and freedom, Al Capone was living out his final days in Florida, a shadow of his former self, his body and mind rapidly rotting away from neurosyphillis.
As the film progresses, Capone, who is never called that, by the way — it’s always Fonze or Fonzo — begins to hallucinate scenes from his past. He sees the trail of violence and blood he’s left behind, the lives he has destroyed, and how enamoured he was by his own legend. And now, with the mental faculties of a young child, it is all worthless — the admirers have disappeared, his wealth has dwindled, and his family’s faith in him has disintegrated.
This is the film that Trank was trying to make, but it isn’t the one I saw. The filmmaker, who after delivering a refreshing take on the superhero genre with his debut feature, Chronicle, was instantly tapped to helm a big-budget blockbuster, committed career suicide after tweeting against his sophomore effort, the unwatchable 2015 Fantastic Four reboot. In the run-up to Capone, Trank very candidly recalled his terrible experience working on Fantastic Four, and seemed to have come to terms with the heartbreak it left him with. In a way, the themes he tackles in Capone — isolation, guilt, arrogance — seem frighteningly personal.
And this is no doubt why Tom Hardy must’ve signed on to do the movie. Having landed his dream star, however, it seems as if Trank simply cleared the runway for him, without so much as a wave of a fluorescent baton to guide him down the right path. In a career filled with upsetting performances — remember, this is the man who did Bronson — this has to be the farthest Hardy has pushed his audience’s patience.