Blow

2001

Blow

Critics Consensus

With elements that seem borrowed from movies like Goodfellas and Boogie Nights, Blow is pretty much been-there-done-that despite another excellent performance from Johnny Depp. It, also, becomes too sentimental at the end.

55%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 140

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 384,749
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Blow Photos

Movie Info

Following the life of cocaine-trafficking pioneer George Jung in a way that recalls Martin Scorsese's Casino, Blow recounts the man's days from his 1950s childhood in Boston to his downfall in the 1980s. George (played by Johnny Depp) begins his life as the son of Fred (Ray Liotta), an earnest breadwinner, and Ermine (Rachel Griffiths), who frequently walks out on them in pursuit of a more fulfilling life. When George moves west to California in the late '60s, accompanied by best pal Tuna (Ethan Suplee), he becomes an entrepreneur in the marijuana business, which soon spreads to the East Coast as well, with girlfriend Barbara (Franka Potente) smuggling the product during her stewardess shifts. George is arrested in 1972 -- at which time Barbara dies of cancer -- but George finds a new ally in Diego (Jordi Molla), who proposes the idea that he become the American conduit for Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar (Cliff Curtis). George flourishes in the heyday of the disco era, and falls for Mirtha (Penelope Cruz), a self-serving bombshell who eventually has a daughter with him. Trouble escalates as the FBI threatens to bring George and his crew down, while he desperately tries to be a stable parent to his young offspring. Blow also features Paul Reubens and Max Perlich in featured roles. ~ Jason Clark, Rovi

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Cast

Johnny Depp
as George Jung
Jordi Molla
as Diego Delgado
Rachel Griffiths
as Ermine Jung
Ray Liotta
as Fred Jung
Paul Reubens
as Derek Foreal
Max Perlich
as Kevin Dulli
Cliff Curtis
as Escobar
Miguel Sandoval
as Augusto Oliveras
Miguel Sandovar
as Augusto Oliveras
Kevin Gage
as Leon Minghella
Miguel Pérez
as Alessandro
Dan Ferro
as Cesar Toban
Michael Tucci
as Doctor Bay
Jaime King
as Kristina Jung
Emma Roberts
as Young Kristina Jung
Jesse James
as Young George
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Critic Reviews for Blow

All Critics (140) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (77) | Rotten (63)

Audience Reviews for Blow

  • Jun 22, 2016
    Based on the true story of George Jung, the man who established the American cocaine market in the 1970s. Pretty crazy to think this is a true story, but the drug trade is a helluva thing. Awesome, awesome movie. Despite what you think about Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, this is the best performance of his career to date. The script and feel of the film perfectly capture the chaos of being one of the "big whigs" in the drug trade. Right up there with Scarface in terms of "drug trade crime films." Do not miss this one.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2013
    A compelling character drama, Blow is an especially well-crafted and poignant period film from Ted Demme. Based on a true story, the film follows the rise and fall of George Jung, who pioneered cocaine trafficking in America during the late '70s and early '80s. Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, and Ray Liotta lead the cast and give excellent performances. Demme's directing is also very good, and focuses on the personal toll that the lifestyle had on Jung, instead of glamourizing it. And, the sets and costumes are quite attentive to detail, giving an authentic feel to the times periods of the film. Smart and powerful, Blow is a cautionary tale about the destructive power of ambition.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 02, 2013
    'Blow' is a horribly dull rehashing of classics such as 'Scarface', 'Goodfellas' and 'Boogie Nights'. The problems are abundant. Its plot is rambling, bloated and tediously predictable; so many plot points are crammed into it. This poorly constructed narrative results with sorely limited characterisation; some seemingly important characters coming and going within ten minutes, it's a total mess. Much of the film is one long dreary drug deal, only the most immature viewer would be engaged or, even worse, allured by it. Most people will watch it thinking about how it lacks the energy, sophistication and talent of all the fantastic crime films it so crudely rips off. Few films are as annoyingly kitsch as this. Johnny Depp again proves his lack of credibility in the crime genre, his first attempt being in the similarly dull 'Donnie Brasco'. I'm not sure why RT deems his performance 'excellent', his feminine features just don't work in the genre. Ray Liotta plays Depp's father, the noble working class stock character that forms the film's rather flimsy anti-drug message. This fails because of the aforementioned narrative issues, the film is utterly devoid of any message that resonates with the viewer. Most people who like this film appear to foolishly do so because they find it 'cool'; much like the bonehead rappers who idolise Tony Montana in 'Scarface'. To make matters worse, the film also has mawkish lashings of sentimentalism towards the end. The crew had to have known how inferior this film was during production, I can imagine it was exhausting for them to complete the project with any conviction.
    Jack H Super Reviewer
  • Dec 03, 2011
    What kind of insane drug launches you back into the pirate era of ye olde England, or Spain in Angelica's case? Okay, maybe I'm making a bit of a stretch by comparing this to "Pirates of the Caribbean", but I've got the feeling that we're missing some kind of epilogue that gives me the chance to break character and not pretend for a second that I'm writing this review in 2001, when this film came out. Maybe Johnny Depp picked up the Spanish language and slowly transformed into Javier Bardem until he finally got whatever kind of disease he got in "Biutiful", which would also finally tell us what in the world his dangerous profession was in that film: drug smuggling. Well, even that's a bit of a stretch of a comparison, because there's no way Javier Bardem's biutiful real life wife turned into... whatever he had as a spouse in that film, or maybe it is Penélope Cruz and that nose finally got the best of her. She's pretty and all, but she should probably cut down on the cocaine; because her nose was swollen enough as it is. No, she's still pretty, but if she is going to turn into that poor dagger-nosed woman in "Biutiful", well Godspeed to her. Wow, here I am trying to figure which film is the sequel to this, when really, I think that there's a reason why Ray Liotta is in this film, seeing as this has to be a sequel to "Goodfella", or at least that's my excuse for it taking quite a bit from that and other films. When the consensus notes that this is too much like "Goodfellas" and "Boogie Nights", he slammed the nail right, clean in the head. It's not like the same tones in the voice-over narration from "Goodfellas", and the very classic retro vibe from "Boogie Nights" - only without the boring, overlong "walking around" shots this time - are bad elements, because they are still pretty neat. Still, this film feels so been-there-done that, and not just because it took some stylistic notes from those films in particular, but because if you've seen any other retro rise-and-fall film about drug dealing, then you definately know the tone of this film. However, there is a major distinction with the tone of this film, and that is inconsistency, with one segment feeling all retro and generic, then suddenly turning emotional, or more specifically, sentimental. I know it doesn't sound that bad, but the shift is so startlingly abrupt that if feels like you're watch an entirely different film all of a sudden, and to make matters worse, they cover so much ground in such little, slowly-paced time that when it does make those shifts, the extreme sentimentality finds itself so tainted by your sense of time that the change feels climactic, and before you know it, the film is ending thirty minutes after it started, and then it starts all over again, only with an entirely new set of characters, because something else that's inconsistent about this film is its character focus. There are so many shifts, and familiar ones at that; and yet, no matter what uppers or downers-I mean highs or lows this film reaches, it can always look at one important factor to come back and save it every time, and make it worth the watch: Pee-wee Herman as a flamboyantly gay drug dealer. Oh wait, I think that might just Pee-wee Herman, but eitherway, the sight of Paul Reubens going around talking about Barbie, Ken and weed isn't the only making this film well worth the watch. Something that's undeniable about the film is that it has style. Albeit familiar and also quite subtle style, but sharp style nevertheless, even going so far as to slap vivid lighting on the flashback sequence to George Jung's childhood to give it that flair of the '50s. That style, as well as the great soundtrack and colorful really kick some life and entertainment value into everything, but it's not like this film is good for nothing but a little bit of fun, because although its tone is inconsistent, the story is undeniably compelling. Neither the elements, nor the storyline are anything new, but this film isn't just copy and paste; it has its inventive points, but like most any other film like this, it's really interesting. Still, it's not just the interest to have in the storyline that makes it compelling, for when this film does get emotional, it's often quite effective, in spite of the sentimentality, and for that, I not only have to give credit to Ted Demme for making it work, but Johnny Depp. Depp is all kinds of actors, including a transformative one, a subtle and graceful one and a charismatic one; and here, all of the Depp's show up for work. There are many shifts in George Jung as a character, but there is one constant in Depp's performance, and that is charisma, which grips your attention and leaves you watching in awe as Depp, like the film, transforms little by little, yet unlike the film, his changes are smoothly transitioned into, giving you a truly intimate look at the highs and lows of Jung's life, and watching Depp carry the transformation, and by extension, the film itself, is truly mesmerizing. At the end of the day, it takes its "blows" from quite a deal of inconsistencies, unless of course you'd count familiarity in the tone and themes as a consistency, seeing as its always somewhere throughout the film; but something even more consistent in here is the entertainment value and compellingness created by the slick style and generally sharp storyline, but above all, Johnny Depp's powerful layered performance that constantly powers "Blow" and makes it an overall thoroughly enjoyable study on the legendary "Boston George" Jung. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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